Improved online tool helps researchers meet grant requirements

June 16, 2014  

Purdue University Libraries and its collaborators recently announced a new version of the DMPTool -- a free, online resource that helps researchers write effective data management plans for their grant proposals.

An increasing number of grant funders, such as the National Science Foundation, require the inclusion of such data management plans in proposals. The tool's new version makes it easier for researchers to collaborate and share their plans, and it provides new functionality for institutions to review and administer their researchers' plans, says Michael Witt, associate professor of library science. Witt is also head of the Distributed Data Curation Center (D2C2) at Purdue Libraries.

"Researchers who are writing grant proposals can log onto the DMPTool 2 (, and select their specific funder and program, and the tool will guide them through a series of questions that are tailored to the data management requirements of the funding program," Witt says.

Once a researcher has answered the tool's questions, it compiles the answers into a data management plan that can be included in a grant proposal. The tool automatically adds and centrally maintains new funding programs and requirements, Witt says.

Throughout the process of creating the data management plan, the tool provides customized help and suggests resources that might be available at researchers' local institutions.

Interface and information architecture improvements implemented in the new tool were based on research from Tao Zhang, assistant professor of library science and user experience specialist at Purdue.

In creating the tool's new version, Purdue's development partners were the California Digital Library, the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, DataONE and the Smithsonian Institution. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services provided support.

Since its release in October 2012, more than 9,100 researchers have used the tool, and 115 U.S. universities and other research institutions have adopted it for widespread use. The tool's new version launched earlier this month.

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