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Directorate for Geosciences--Data Policies

GEO Division Data Policies and Information

The NSF brings transparency to its long-standing policy on dissemination and sharing of research results through the required inclusion of a data management plan with each project submission:

Plans for the dissemination and sharing of research results will be traceable from the beginning to the end of a project (proposal, review, and annual/final report). The primary goal of this procedural change is to assure that products of research help NSF achieve its mission to promote the progress of science and engineering.

The National Science Board produced a 2005 report on “Long-Lived Digital Data Collections" which recognized that science has become increasingly data-intensive, requiring new kinds of collaborations and techniques. The new requirement that all research proposals include a Data Management Plan effectively implements a recommendation from this report. The NSB report represents one of several influential reports that note that major advances in technology are driving rapid changes in the scale, scope and complexity of science and engineering data collections. These changes can create significant obstacles for communities that strive to make the products of science openly accessible. If access to data and knowledge are to be as broad as possible, cultural and institutional changes must keep pace with technology changes.


The National Science Foundation maintains a website of resources that will help in the preparation of compliant and useful data management plans, including a set of Frequently Asked Questions. Geosciences complements these resources with information specific to geosciences research and programs, including GEO data guidance and community data resources.

NSF: Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Public Access