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Data Management Plans From Successful Grant Applications (2011-2014) Now Available

November 4, 2015 | By Jason Rhody

Beginning in 2011, the NEH Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) began requiring a Data Management Plan (DMP) for the majority of its grant programs. In the past year, NEH has received a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to view some or all of the DMPs submitted as a component of successful grant applications since 2011. Due to the high level of interest from scholars and the general public in the DMPs submitted, NEH has bundled the plans in a zip file and is making them available for download via the NEH FOIA Library [the link entitled "Data Management Plans From Successful Grant Applications (2011 - 2014)" leads to a 15.1mb zip file]: http://www.neh.gov/about/foia/library

What are these files?

These files comprise the 108 data management plans (DMPs) from applications funded by the Office of Digital Humanities between the years 2011 and 2014. These compiled records will be housed in NEH’s FOIA Library: http://www.neh.gov/about/foia/library

What is a Data Management Plan?

The DMP is a supplemental document in a grant application that describes how the project team will manage and disseminate data generated or collected by the project. For more information, see the document that serves as guidance for applicants: http://www.neh.gov/files/grants/data_management_plans_2015.pdf

Why did the Office of Digital Humanities begin to require data management plans?

ODH adopted the DMP format soon after other funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation began requiring them. The DMP format allowed ODH to have applicants consolidate information that was often spread out across the grant narrative itself. The use of DMPs also allowed applicant institutions, many of which have staff dedicated to the submission of grants, to follow a common practice across federal agencies. Finally, the use of a DMP allowed NEH to encourage applicants and reviewers to think in broader terms about humanities data. It is important to note that NEH has long employed other strategies to gather information that might be found in a data management plan. For instance, NEH's long-standing Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program, offered by the Division of Preservation and Access, has routinely gathered information found in DMPs through the requirements of the grant narrative itself.

What programs are included?

The DMPs are from the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants (HD), Digital Humanities Implementation Grants (HK), and Digging into Data (HJ).

How do I understand the file names?

The file names will tell you which program the grant is from and which fiscal year the grant was funded. For example, the file name HD-51791-13 reveals that the grant is a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, because the prefix is "HD." The second set of numbers is the grant record number, which uniquely identifies each grant application. The third set of numbers is the fiscal year in which the grant was awarded. Note that some grants may have been submitted in the previous fiscal year. For example, the grant for HD-51791-13 was awarded in the 2013 fiscal year, but the grant application was submitted for review in the 2012 fiscal year.

How can I find out more information about this grant?

You can also use the file name to look up the grant record via our Funded Projects Query Form, which will then provide the grant information, the abstract, and (if available) the white paper.

To find the grant, enter the grant file prefix (HD, HK, or HJ) and the numbers following the first hyphen. For example, entering HK-50021 will lead you to the grant record for Metadata Games, an implementation grant.

How were the data management plans reviewed?

The DMPs were reviewed as one part of a much larger application package, which typically included a full project narrative, work plan, budget, and other materials. For information about the steps involved in the review of a proposal, please explore NEH’s Application Review Process: http://www.neh.gov/grants/application-process

The DMPs may vary in quality, depth, and clarity, and should be considered as just one element under consideration as reviewers evaluated the proposals. For a complete overview of what is included in an application package, as well as the review criteria used to evaluate proposals, please see the grant guidelines for each program at the following links:

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants (HD)

http://www.neh.gov/grants/odh/digital-humanities-start-grants

Digital Humanities Implementation Grants (HK)

http://www.neh.gov/grants/odh/digital-humanities-implementation-grants

Digging into Data (HJ)

http://www.neh.gov/grants/odh/digging-data-challenge

Finally, it should be noted that data management plans were a relatively new requirement for many applicants when ODH first requested them in 2011. Over the years, as more examples of successful DMPs become available and libraries and other organizations develop more resources to support the creation of DMPs, the quality and the importance of the plans has generally increased.

I have a question about these plans. Where should I direct my inquiry?

If you want to see additional information about a grant application, then you will need to submit a FOIA request for additional records. You also can contact the project directly. You can read more about NEH FOIA requests here: http://www.neh.gov/about/foia

If you have a general question, you can contact the Office of Digital Humanities at odh@neh.gov