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The Research Data Management Core (RDMC) team offers an optional data management and sharing plan (DMSP) review service to support compliance with funding agencies’ data management and sharing policies. Members of the RDMC review team, who are data management, curation, and archiving experts with specialized knowledge of various data types in different disciplinary contexts, will inspect the DMSP and provide specific recommendations for improvement.

The goal of the DMSP review is to ensure that the DMSP meets policy requirements and that the DMSP can be feasibly implemented given the type, size, and format of project data and available technologies and services to support effective management and sharing of project data described in the grant proposal.

DMSP Review Requirements

To assess DMSPs for policy compliance and feasibility of DMSP implementation, the RDMC review team requires access to documents that outline policy requirements and guidelines, AND components of the grant proposal that describe in detail the data to be generated and/or used by the project. 

Requests for a DMSP review must include the following materials:

  • Link to the completed DMSP draft in the DMPTool
  • Link to the funding agency’s data management and sharing policy
  • Link to the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) or program solicitation
  • Copy of the grant proposal narrative that describes the project data

DMSP review requests that do not include or provide access to any one of these required documents will be declined with no further action until the request is resubmitted with all required materials included.

DMSP Review Deadlines

RDMC sets DMSP review request deadlines based on available staffing and workloads. The current deadline for requesting a FULL DMSP review is 3 weeks prior to the sponsor deadline for proposal submission. Requests for a DMSP review submitted less than 3 weeks prior to the sponsor deadline will be given an EXPRESS DMSP review. Note that the EXPRESS DMSP review is not provided as a service option; rather, it is the default for delayed requests.  DMSPs that are submitted less than 5 business days prior to the sponsor deadline will be given an EXPRESS DMSP review on a first-come, first-served basis IF staffing is available.

3 weeks
prior to sponsor deadline
Less than 3 weeks
prior to sponsor deadline
Less than 5 days
prior to sponsor deadline
Full DMSP review with comprehensive inspection of all DMSP components and opportunities for resource referral and consultationEXPRESS DMSP review with inspection of essential DMSP components onlyEXPRESS DMSP review on a first-come, first-serve basis, RDMC review staff availability permitting 


Although there can be no guarantee that a DMSP review will result in sponsor approval, a FULL DMSP review can greatly reduce the likelihood of policy non-compliance and the consequences thereof.  A FULL DMSP review can further help ensure that DMSP implementation is feasible, and that project data can be managed and shared effectively and according to funder policy requirements. 

Key Components of the DMSP ReviewFULL
Basic Requirements
The DMSP includes each required section/element in accordance with funder policy and guidance
The DMSP contains language that is coherent and relevant to the respective DMSP section 
Repository selection 
The DMSP specifies the name of an established repository to be used for data archiving and sharing 
Data description 
The DMSP presents sufficient, reasonable information about the data described in the proposal narrative and the necessary provisions for data management and sharing 
cursory only
Ethical/Legal issues 
The DMSP addresses any ethical or legal issues that may affect data access, sharing and/or reuse 
cursory only
Repository requirements 
The DMSP describes a data archiving and sharing strategy that corresponds to the services and requirements of the repository selected for data archiving and sharing 
Standards and best practices 
The DMSP aligns with FAIR data principles and other prevailing data management and sharing standards and best practices 
Resource referral (upon request) 
If necessary, DMSP feedback includes recommendations for tools, services, and other appropriate resources that support DMSP implementation 
time permitting
Consultation (upon request) 
30-minute consultation with data management expert to review the DMSP draft and address any questions and/or issues after initial review 
time permitting
Final review (upon request) 
The revised DMSP is given a final review to ensure that suggested edits have been suitably incorporated  
time permitting

Risks with an EXPRESS DMSP Review or No Review

Denial of award. For some funders, only applications with complete and acceptable DMSPs are selected for funding. If a DMSP does not meet the funder policy and guidelines, the funder may deny the award pending revision and approval or reject the application outright. 

Delay of award. If the DMSP cannot be approved without additional information to meet policy requirements, the funder may delay the award until a revised DMSP is submitted and approved. 

Post-award DMSP revisions. If the DMSP does not accurately reflect the actual project data and/or the resources required to manage and share project data, a revised DMSP and/or budget will need to be submitted to the funder for approval. 

DMSP implementation challenges. If the DMSP does not fully consider the specific management and sharing needs of the data and/or does not align with standards and best practices, implementation of the DMSP as written may be difficult or unfeasible without project work plan and budget modifications. 

How to Request a DMSP Review

We recommend planning for data management early in the proposal-writing phase. The deadline for a FULL DMSP review is 3 weeks prior to the funding agency’s proposal submission due date. This will allow RDMC staff and your project team the time necessary to perform a comprehensive inspection of the draft DMSP and to make any necessary revisions or request budgets and letters of support from other UNC units that may be able to support your research project needs.

Given current staffing levels, if a DMSP review request is submitted less than 3 weeks prior to the proposal due date, we cannot guarantee that the DMSP will be given the full attention necessary to ensure policy compliance.

Step 1: Sign Up for DMPTool

All DMSP Reviews are conducted in the DMPTool. UNC offers free access to the tool using your ONYEN. Follow the steps below to create your account.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter UNC email in Sign Up field
  3. Sign in with UNC ONYEN
  4. Your account has been created!

Step 2: Create DMSP in DMPTool

After creating your account, you will need to create your draft DMSP within the tool.

  1. Select Create Plan
  2. Enter required information including Primary Funding Organization (e.g., NIH)
  3. Fill in as much of the template as possible
  4. Bookmark or copy the URL to your draft data management and sharing plan. (You will need this later!)

Step 3: Request a DMSP Review

When you’ve finished writing your draft DMSP, you are ready to request a review from RDMC.

  1. Submit request for DMSP review
  2. Provide URL to your draft data management plan
  3. Attach relevant proposal materials
  4. Include your questions in the request

Step 4: Add RDMC Reviewer to DMPTool

After submitting your DMSP review request, you will receive an email from an RDMC staff member with information on adding an RDMC Reviewer to your draft DMSP. Note: If you have not received a follow-up email from RDMC within a few business days, please check your spam, junk, and/or ‘other’ folder (if using Outlook).

  1. Login to DMPTool
  2. Select your DMSP under My Dashboard
  3. Go to Collaborators
  4. Add RDMC Reviewer under DMP Collaborators with Editor permissions

Once an RDMC Reviewer has been added as a Collaborator with Editor permissions, they will provide feedback and recommendations within your draft DMSP using the Comments feature in DMPTool. Please review all comments and make changes as necessary to ensure your DMSP is robust and in compliance with funding agency requirements.