DMPTool integrates with eLabNext’s digital lab platform, driving more accessible proposal review and compliance with NIH’s data management policies

3 min read 30 May 2023

eLabNext has incorporated DMPTool, a free online platform for creating data management plans (DMPs), into its library of digital lab platform add-ons. With the addition of DMPTool, research labs and their affiliated institutions can generate DMPs for a wide range of funding organizations – including the National Institute of Health (NIH) – and review or download them directly from eLabNext’s software, enabling more effortless collaboration, grant drafting, proposal submission, and continued compliance.

DMPTool Press Release Document

What is DMP (Data Management Plan)?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a structured document that outlines how data will be handled both during a research project and after its completion. It details the types of data to be collected, methodologies for data collection and analysis, plans for sharing and preserving data, and strategies for ensuring data security and privacy. The DMP is essential for maintaining data integrity and ensuring that the data can be effectively used for future research, audits, or replication of the study. Funding agencies, research institutions, and published journals often require its usage to ensure good research practices and compliance with ethical guidelines.

Why are Data Management Plans Important?

Proper data management and sharing ensure that all scientific data (and associated metadata) is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable to the present and future scientific community. Following current guidelines from funding agencies guarantees that discoveries are attributed to the right scientists and empowers future researchers to reuse data for additional scientific advances.

The NIH, a major funding source for R&D life science labs, has prioritized data management and sharing. They expect “…researchers to maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data, taking into account factors such as legal, ethical, or technical issues that may limit the extent of data sharing and preservation.” Accordingly, the NIH has published extensive resources and policy documents for all NIH grant awardees to implement in their operations, with a recent update to the policy in early-2023. 

But writing and submitting a data management and sharing plan – now required by many other public and private funding organizations – is challenging, requiring in-depth descriptions of data types, analysis methods, standards that will be followed, timelines for data preservation and access, potential roadblocks, and how compliance will be checked and ensured. In addition, different funding agencies have unique requirements which are continuously being updated, putting pressure on individual researchers and their academic, non-profit, government, or industrial organisations to perform pre-submission quality control checks to ensure adherence with each funding agency’s current guidelines. Finally, after grants are awarded, it can be difficult for all laboratory personnel to access and understand DMPs, leading to non-compliant data management practices and, potentially, data loss.

What Is DMPTool and How Does It Work

DMPTool, an open-source, free, web-based platform, enables researchers to draft data management and share plans that comply with funding agencies by providing a simple agency-specific DMP template. The writing wizard streamlines writing by asking a user about each element of their DMP and providing sample responses in an easy-to-use interface. By breaking down the required elements, DMPTool brings ease and simplicity to grant submissions.

In addition, more than 380 institutions and organizations have implemented DMPTool as an integral part of their grant review process, enabling affiliated users to access organization-specific templates and resources, suggested text and answers, and additional support to further facilitate internal review and approval. DMPTool also directly links to funding organisations websites to ensure that the platform is up-to-date with the latest requirements and best practices.

These benefits have led to the widespread adoption of DMPTool, with over 96,000 researchers using the online application to submit more than 92,000 DMPs.

Efficient Proposal Review, Submission and Data Management Plan Implementation with eLabNext Integration

eLabNext provides a flexible, multi-dimensional software solution for the ever-evolving needs of the life science lab. One defining characteristic of the platform is its ability to expand functionality. The addition of the DMPTool to our eLabMarketplace library of add-ons is the most recent example of this and one that was requested by Harvard Medical School (HMS) users of both platforms.

The eLabNext integration of DMPTool will enable users at HMS and elsewhere to pull DMPs from DMPTool and present plan summaries within eLabNext, along with a link to download the complete plan. Therefore, any eLabNext user can access the DMP and reference as they perform research. This benefits researchers by helping maintain compliance and facilitating full DMP life cycle management from the grant drafting process through the post-award period.

Try DMPTool in a free trial

About DMPTool

DMPTool is a free, open, online platform designed to assist researchers in creating and managing data management and sharing plans. It provides a collection of templates and resources, step-by-step guidance, and comprehensive examples to guide researchers through the process of developing effective DMPs that align with funder requirements and best practices.

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