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How should PIs writing DMPs for NSF Major Research Instrumentation grants indicate who is responsible for data generated by the instrument? Should the PI focus more on his/her data using the instrument instead of on how others manage data?

Yasmeen.Shorish's picture
Because MRIs concern equipment that could be used across many projects, it is a good practice to write the DMP to concern the data practices of the equipment when it is not in use for another DMP-governed grant. That is, how will the data be collected and maintained day-to-day? If there is a lab or microscopy manager, s/he could be a logical point person to discuss how this new equipment would be introduced into the lab's standard operating procedures. Other areas to mention could be whether there will be designated stoarge space, or how different researchers will take possession of the data after they're done using the machine. On the surface, MRI's look simple because there is not a single project tied to them and some think this means that there doesn't need to be a DMP. However, often having an in-depth discussion with the equipment manager and the PI about how the data collection, management, and storage workflow would actually play out reveals opportunities to develop standard workflows that may have been missing. Yale has an example of a data management plan from an MRI proposal ( that does a good job articulating the data management guidance that will be provided to users of the equipment as well as the basic workflows that will be in place, while also noting the various other policies/requirements (institutional, other projects' DMPs, etc.) that users will be subject to.