Department of Defense

What is required? 

The Department of Defense requires a two-step process to comply with its data policy:

  1. A data management plan (DMP) or data sharing plan is required with the grant proposal.
  2. Dataset(s) supporting published research results should be deposited in a public data repository at the time of publication.

What do I need to submit as part of my proposal? 

Each project proposal includes a data management plan (DMP). The DMP documents the decision process for preserving data for potential reuse and the cost of recreating the data. 

What is a data management plan (DMP)?

A document that describes which data generated through the course of the proposed research will be shared and preserved and how it will be done. It may explain why data sharing or preservation is not possible or scientifically appropriate, or why the costs of sharing or preservation are incommensurate with the value of doing so.

Data management planning should be an integral part of research planning. A DMP is submitted to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) at the start of the research project. Generally, the data management plan will not exceed 2 pages. The plan describes how and where the data will be made available to the public and describes how the data that underlies scientific publications will be available for discovery, retrieval, and analysis. The DMP can include, but is not limited to: 

  • The types of data, software, and other materials to be produced.
  • How the data will be acquired. 
  • Time and location of data acquisition, if scientifically pertinent. 
  • How the data will be processed. 
  • The file formats and the naming conventions that will be used. 
  • A description of the quality assurance and quality control measures during collection, analysis, and processing. 
  • A description of dataset origin when existing data resources are used. 
  • A description of the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content. 
  • Appropriate timeframe for preservation. 
  • The plan may consider the balance between the relative value of data preservation and other factors such as the associated cost and administrative burden. The plan will provide a justification for such decisions. 
  • A statement that the data cannot be made available to the public when there are national security or controlled unclassified information concerns (e.g., “This data cannot be cleared for public release in accordance with the requirements in DoD Directive 5230.09.”) 

Use the DMP Tool, an online tool for creating data management plans, with templates for many funding agencies.

When do I need to share my data? 

Data should be shared at time of publication.

Where can I deposit my data? 

While there is no required repository for DoD data, researchers are encouraged to deposit data in existing community or institutional repositories with a centralized data catalog/locator at DoD Defense Technical Information Center to consolidate the metadata for compliance, measurement, and discovery. See our guidance on sharing and archiving data for information about finding a suitable repository.

How do I submit? 

Before submitting your data to your chosen repository, you will need to ensure you’ve completed these steps.

  • De-identify your data if appropriate.
  • Put your data in an open, machine-readable file format such as .csv.
  • Document the dataset thoroughly in a separate readme.txt file, and/or create metadata according to the scheme required by your chosen repository.
  • Obtain a DOI or other permanent identifier for the dataset from your chosen repository.
  • Follow the upload instructions for your chosen repository.

Are there any compliance requirements?

The DoD will ensure that data management plans include clear plans for sharing research data and that data underlying the conclusions of scientific publications resulting from DOD awards are freely available to the public before making subsequent awards.

Failure to provide updates in grant reporting may result in withholding or adjustment of funds at the end of each performance period. Failure to deposit data may negatively influence future funding opportunities.

More information


The DOD implemented their plan in 2016 and noted that the policy will not be retroactive.


 Page last updated Nov 2020