The Best-Laid Schemes: Reflections on Three Years of the NEH ODH Data Management Plan Requirement

Notes: View the community notes Google doc for this session.

Session Type: Presentation

Session Description
In 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities began requiring grant applicants to submit a data management plan as one component of a proposal. Modeled on guidelines released by the National Science Foundation, this mandate asks applicants to explicitly describe what data will be produced during the grant period, how it will be preserved and disseminated, and who will be responsible for its maintenance over time. Data management planning helps ensure that, even in the earliest stages of a project, participants consider the technical requirements and institutional resources necessary to ensure that a wide audience may access and build upon the products of grant-funded research.

Drawing on the perspectives of NEH ODH staff, recent grantees, and stakeholders such as the California Digital Library, this moderated panel discussion will examine how, three years later, this requirement has impacted the proposal writing process, what challenges and opportunities have arisen, and how funding agencies can better communicate expectations and respond to the needs of applicants in the future. Questions to be addressed include:

  • With over 700 plans submitted to ODH so far, what common trends—both strengths and pitfalls—have emerged?
  • To what extent has this mandate encouraged further dialogue or collaboration between information professionals and humanities scholars?
  • How successfully have data management plan guidelines addressed the interests of researchers across the humanities as well as scientific disciplines?
  • Considering heightened expectations for grantees’ approaches to data curation, where can smaller or less-resourced institutions turn for support?

While it is our hope that the presentation will inform audience members’ approaches to developing data management plans and the wider ecosystem around them, NEH staff will also draw on this conversation and on audience feedback to further develop data management guidelines and online resources for potential applicants.

Session Leaders
Perry Collins, National Endowment for the Humanities
Trevor Muñoz, University of Maryland, College Park
Lauren Klein, Georgia Institute of Technology
Stephen Abrams, California Digital Library