ESDS Program

How to Create and Maintain an Open Science and Data Management Plan for Proposals



The purpose of an Open Science and Data Management Plan (OSDMP) is to address the management of Earth science data from the time of their collection/observation to their entry into permanent archives. NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD)-funded scientific activities that intend to generate data are required to include an OSDMP in their proposal (e.g. Section 1 of the ROSES Earth Science Division OSDMP). NASA defines data as scientific or technically relevant information that can be stored digitally and accessed electronically. This includes any scientifically useful data associated with an award. In particular, the information needed to validate the scientific conclusions of peer-reviewed publications must be shared at the time of publication. This does not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, intermediate data products, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer review reports, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens. The OSDMP will describe how data will be managed, preserved, and released. The SMD Open Science Policy, outlined in SMD Policy SPD-41a, adds new requirements to OSDMPs.

This document provides guidance for researchers on how to prepare an OSDMP for Earth science proposals and to align the OSDMP with open-source science SMD policy. See the Open Science and Data Management Plan Guidance for data producers and NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs). Here is the Earth Science-specific OSDMP template (DOC).

How to Create an Open Science and Data Management Plan

Anatomy of an Open Science and Data Management Plan

At a minimum, an OSDMP in a proposal for SMD-funded research should include:

  • Descriptions of the data expected to be produced
  • A data repository (or repositories) that will be used to archive the data and metadata produced
  • Timeline for the public sharing of data and metadata produced
  • A description of the roles and responsibilities of project personnel with respect to the implementation of the OSDMP
  • Exemptions that may apply to the data produced

Description of the Data

Data description: Provide descriptions of the data expected to be produced from the proposed activities, including types of data to be produced, the machine-readable format of the data, data processing level, data file format, spatial and temporal extent of the data, and any applicable standards for the data or associated metadata. This can be done in tabular form.

Item Description Examples
Type The origin of the data you intend to produce
  • satellite remote sensing measurements
  • field data
  • citizen science data
  • model data
Data Format The machine readable format of the data files
  • NetCDF
  • HDF
  • Grib2
  • Zarr
Metadata Format The machine readable format of the files describing your data
  • ISO 19115
  • UMM-C and UMM-G
Processing Level The amount of processing that has been applied to your data as archived
  • Level 0
  • Level 1A/B/C
  • Level 2A/B
  • Level 3A/B
  • Level 4
Spatial Extent The geographical area the data apply to  
Temporal Extent The period of time represented by the data  


Note: Data volumes are not necessary for a proposal OSDMP.

Data Repository

SMD-funded data must be archived in a repository that will ensure the FAIR Principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability. In addition, NASA's Earth Science Division (ESD) requires that the scientific source code for algorithm software, coefficients, and ancillary data used to generate the data also be archived in that repository.

For ESD-funded researchers, the designated NASA repository is often a DAAC. DAACs are assigned by NASA Headquarters after a proposal is awarded and approved by the ESD. Consequently, Principal Investigators (PIs) should not contact a DAAC before an award is made. However, proposers should indicate in the proposal OSDMP that they plan to archive data in a NASA DAAC and may suggest a preferred DAAC.

If a DAAC will not be used as the repository, this should be indicated in the OSDMP.

Item Description Examples
DAAC (optional) The proposed archive center for the data List of DAACs
Non-DAAC data repository (mandatory if the proposer does not wish to use a DAAC). Small datasets or individual tables that accompany a peer-reviewed publication may be preserved as machine readable tables in the supplemental material of a peer-reviewed publication. However, the use of a community-recognized repository is encouraged. A description of the intended data repository.
  • Federally supported data repositories (e.g.,
  • A public repository already in use by the scientific community

Timeline for Sharing Data

Data produced from the proposal shall be made publicly available, and the timeline for that process must be contained within the proposal's OSDMP. All scientifically useful data (this includes data required to derive the findings communicated in figures, maps, and tables as well as scientifically useful data from models and simulations) associated with an SMD research award shall be made publicly available by the end of the period of performance of the research award, whether or not the data would be needed to validate the scientific conclusions of a peer-reviewed publication. Scientifically useful data needed to validate the scientific conclusions of peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from SMD-funded scientific activities, including that from models and simulations developed using SMD funding, shall become publicly available no later than the publication date of the corresponding peer-reviewed article. There is no period of exclusive access. PIs may request a reasonable period for calibration and validation of data, but should discuss if this will exceed 6 months and the timeframe of dependencies. Extended delays without reasonable justification will not be viewed favorably.

Provide per anticipated dataset:

Item Description Examples
Dataset name The release date for each dataset. 3 months after collection
Caveats Conditions that may affect release (e.g., weather conditions; prior dependencies, including launch delays) Expected delay in data release

Roles and Responsibilities of Project Personnel

The PI is responsible for OSDMP production and delivery. However, the responsibility for managing data may be split among the project team. The OSDMP shall contain information regarding who is responsible for each phase of the data lifecycle from the time of their data collection/observation to their entry into permanent archives.

Item Description Notes
Name Role in data management One or more roles for the OSDMP


Your data may be subject to specific laws, regulations, or policies (e.g., Export Administration Regulations [EAR] or International Traffic in Arms Regulations [ITAR]) that would prevent the release of this information. Such data are exempt from requirements for making data publicly available.

Item Description Notes
Exemption A justification of why the data produced are exempt from public dissemination Section II-C of SPD-41a details exemption conditions


Post-Award Open Science and Data Management Plan

Once funded, researchers may be required to produce a comprehensive OSDMP.


Points of Contact

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