Implementing the DMPTool at your institution

Once a semester, I teach in a workshop for graduate students applying for SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (which falls under the auspices of the NSF). My particular segment is on writing a data management plan – an opaque process on its own, and even more so for a graduate student who may not have yet faced the realities of their own practices and needs, or the requirements outlined by the NSF and its many Directorates. At the end of this class, I point students to the DMPTool, and they are so thankful for a bundled, take-home data management plan helper!

So for those of you new to data, what is the DMPTool? 

The DMPTool is a Wizard that will walk folks preparing data management plans through the process of writing a data management plan (DMP). The tool offers guidance and leading questions for grant writers, elaborating on the information provided by funders. If you are part of a team that consults on data management plans, it’s a very handy way to expand your reach — I’d love to talk with everyone composing a DMP, but I can’t meet with every individual researcher in a large institution!

DMPTool Homepage

You don’t even have to be a Partner Institution in order to use the DMPTool. Even if you don’t have the human-power to sink into customizing the tool, it is robust off the shelf. The DMPTool is also updated as new funder requirements are released or updated. Since my own time is limited, and my institution doesn’t have a formal position devoted to data management, I appreciate that I don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time something changes.

There are a few ways librarians with data service aspects to their work can interact with the DMPTool: You can establish institutional authentication with the tool via something like Shibboleth, customize the tool with additional resources (help text, suggested answers, or other information), or contribute to the DMPTool’s codebase.

Getting Involved with the DMPTool

Knowing that University of Massachusetts Amherst already uses Shibboleth, I filled out the “Contact Us” form indicating my interest in becoming a Partner Institution.

I was quickly contacted by someone from the DMPTool, and after a couple of clarifying emails (a screenshot and verification of who would be the administrator), we were officially a Partner Institution! We were also able to set up an authentication procedure through Shibboleth, so grant-writers at my institution can sign in with their UMass credentials. Ideally, this could be integrated into a grant-writing workflow. We’re working on that!

Next Steps

Setting up, authenticating, and customizing the DMPTool is straightforward and easy — though that’s only one side of the data services puzzle.

Our current focus is customizing the tool to reflect our particular policies and recommendations. This means we need to locate the policies and services we have available — not a straightforward task at a large university with many acronyms!

And at this point, the good folks at the DMPTool and the University of California Curation Center have also provided a nice set of marketing materials which you can — you guessed it — customize to fit your needs. Sharing is caring!

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