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Guidance on preparing to share your data

Planning your project with a Data Management Plan

Open access data begins with a Data Management Plan (DMP). To prepare your DMP, think about all the steps in the data life cycle and your data needs at each step, such as: data types that will be gathered, file formats of those data, naming conventions, metadata formats, repositories that will be used for data sharing, and plans for long-term archive.
The Data Management Plan page has an in-depth description of the NSF data-sharing requirements and describes how to use the BCO-DMO template on the DMPTool.

General guidance for all BCO-DMO datasets

A dataset submitted to BCO-DMO needs to be of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings. A dataset usually consists of a file containing a single data table (example formats: csv, Excel, tsv) or a collection of files that contain the same type of data, like a collection of model output files in .netcdf format or a collection of coral quadrat photos.
Descriptive Metadata: Each dataset must be accompanied by information (metadata) providing sufficient context for peer review and reuse of the data. Therefore, each dataset at BCO-DMO has its own metadata page, which describes the "who/what/where/how" information about how the data were generated.

Guidance for specific data types

The organization of your data can vary depending on the data type. We have specific guidance for data tables, genetic accessions, image/video datasets and Models & Code. We also have guidance for certain research programs or projects, such as GEOTRACES.