Data Management

The MBLWHOI Library is committed to assisting its patrons with data management.

Data Management Planning

Data Management

Data Preservation and Access

Data Citation 


Many funders such as the National Science Foundation, have requirements for data sharing and data management plans. Plans are typically two pages and provide the reviewers with an idea of the type of data you are expecting to collect, how you are expecting to manage it, and how you will provide access to it in the future. The details of this plan with be quite specific to the methods you use, the standards of your field, and the policies of the funding agency and of your institutional.

DMP Tool

MBL, WHOI, and USGS all have integrated login systems with DMP Tool, a web-based tool to help you build your data management plan that includes step-by-step guidance and information specific to many United States granting agencies and their directorates.

There is a DMP Tool Quickstart Guide to introduce the tool. If you need any help creating a plan with the DMP Tool, you can contact Audrey Mickle or refer to the community resources.

If you are interested in creating a customized template for your department or lab, please contact Jen Walton or Audrey Mickle.

How do I log in to DMP Tool?

Click on here to be directed to the Login page.

  • On the Login page, click the sign in drop down

  • Choose Option 1

  • Begin typing the name of your institution to select it from the list

  • Log in as you usually do for web services

Other Planning Resources

DataOne– Data Management Planning

NOAA– Data Management Planning Procedural Directive and plan repository

WHOI– Data Management and Publishing

DCC– Digital Curation Center Data Management Planning

LTER- The Long Term Ecological Research Network, Writing a Data Management Plan for your NSF Proposal


Management of data throughout the research life-cycle not only increases the efficiency of a research project, it also complies with expectations for the ethical conduct of research and is rapidly becoming mandatory practice for many funding agencies.

Three Things You Can Do Today to Help Manage Your Data

1. Backup, backup, backup.           

Think of what it would take to reproduce your data. To make sure you dont lose it, strive to have three copies—the original master file, a local backup (e.g., on an external hard drive), and an external backup (e.g., on a networked drive or on a web-based storage service).

2. Organize your data.

Plan the directory structure and file naming conventions before creating your data, taking into consideration the potential need to track versions  of data sets and documents. Follow any existing project-specific conventions or disciplinary standards or best practices.

3. Document your data.

Data documentation, also known as metadata, will help you use and understand your research data into the future. If you plan to share your data it will also help others find, use, and properly cite it. At a minimum, create a readme.txt file that includes basic documentation such as title,  creator, identifier, rights/access information, dates, location, methodology, etc.

Data Management Resources

IMBER- Data Management Cookbook

IODC- Data Management Cookbook

NSF– Data Management and Sharing FAQ

ESIP– Data Management Workshop

MIT– Data Management



The assignment of persistent identifiers enables accurate data citation. The Library, like most repositories can assign a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to appropriate datasets deposited in the Institutional Repository (IR) WHOAS (Woods Hole Open Access Server).  Many publishers now require authors to deposit datasets associated with published articles in a repository.

The DOI would ideally be assigned before submission and be included in the published paper so readers can link directly to the data set, but DOIs are also being assigned to data sets related to articles after publication. WHOAS metadata records link the article to the data sets and the data sets to the article.

The Library has also collaborated with Elsevier to enable linking from Science Direct articles to related data sets (when available) in WHOAS.

Choosing a Repository

When a repository is not specified by the funding agency, or when that repository does not accept all applicable data, you may need to choose between other available repositories. A national repository is generally preferred, but a domain specific repository is also desirable. This increases the likelihood that your data will have greater relevance to those searching. is a great resource to find potential repositories by subject and content type.

The WHOAS Repository

The WHOAS Repository is open to the entire Woods Hole scientific community. We work with researchers to deposit datasets in WHOAS that are not appropriate for national or domain specific data repositories.  These data sets currently include audio, video, text and jpg files. Our records are OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) compliant, which allows them to be harvested by search engines. We can embargo data where it is necessary and create new versions for changed content.

 WHOAS is proud to be a CoreTrustSeal Certified Repository. CoreTrustSeal is an international, community based, non-governmental, and non-profit organization promoting sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures.     


Read more about our WHOAS repository.


The purpose of data citation is to give attribution to data creators and curators, track provenance and impact of data sets, and aid in reproducibility.  The ESIP Federation has put together these guidelines. The Digital Curation Center has this article about How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications.

Contact if you are interested in DOIs, have questions about data appropriate to deposit in WHOAS, or have other data management or citation questions.

More questions?

Contact for additional information about Data Management Resources