Plan - Identify Roles

What are roles in a data management and sharing plan?

A data management and sharing plan should identify all person(s) responsible for managing and/or sharing the research data generated by your proposed project. These responsibilities could belong to one or many team members in a grant.

Considerations for determining roles and responsibilities

Early in the proposal planning process, it is important to identify team member roles and their responsibilities regarding your research data. This is typically a requirement of most funding agency data management and sharing plans. The NIST Research Data Framework (RDaF) is a great resource that provides Profiles to help researchers identify important roles throughout a research project.

Some things to consider while determining roles and responsibilities:

  1. How many project team members should have access to the data?
    If you have a small team working on the project, you may want all members to have access to the data; however, if your project team is larger, it is not necessary that everyone be able to access the data. If there are more ethical and legal considerations such as security clearances, IRB approvals, or data access agreements, narrow down the data access list to only those who must collect, store, secure, clean, analyze, use and/or share the data.

  2. Who will be responsible for implementing the data management and sharing plan?
    This does not necessarily have to be the project PI. The person(s) responsible for managing the data should have a good understanding of what data can/cannot be shared, should ensure the data are well documented, and should have the time and capacity available to deposit the data and supporting documentation within a data repository.

  3. Who will be the point of contact for future inquiries related to your research data?
    For some projects there is a shared inbox where multiple team members handle questions. For others, the team designates a single point of contact, usually the PI or Co-PI.

Many funding agencies allow for data management and sharing activities and roles to be included within the project budget. Allotting the necessary staff and resources to effectively manage and share your research data is important and should be costed into your project.

Resources at UNC

As you plan your research project, here are some groups at UNC you might consider reaching out to for support, training, or consultation.










Ethical and regulatory oversight of human subjects research

IRB reviews, training, and consultations

ITS Research Computing

Provides computing and data infrastructure support for researchers

High performance computing systems (HPCs); Virtual computing lab (VCL); Secure research workspace; Access to national resources; Training and presentations; Quantum computing; Storage and application solutions for research


Grant-funded institute dedicated to serve the clinical trials research community

Proposal development; Community engagement; Guidance on conducting clinical research; Education and training on study design, data and analysis in clinical research; tools and resources for clinical research and proposal development; funding opportunities

The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

Provides education and support for planning, implementing, and disseminating research data

Planning, data collection and analysis consultations for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research; Short courses and trainings on tools, methods, and best practices in research; Research design; Statistical analysis; Network data analysis; Text analysis; Survey research support

Office of Sponsored Programs – Industry Contracting

Responsible for reviewing and executing agreements for sponsored research projects

Clinical trial agreements; Confidentiality/Nondisclosure agreements; Data use agreements; Data transfer agreements; Material transfer agreements

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Oversees, develops, and supports UNC’s research community.

Provides information on funding opportunities, proposal development, awards management, compliance, data management and sharing, and research translation


Develops and deploys data science cyberinfrastructure that supports researchers

Support and collaborative opportunities in clinical informatics and AI, data science and analytics, earth data science, network research and infrastructure, and software architecture

Research Data Management Core

Offers support for data management and sharing in compliance with funding agency requirements

DMSP reviews; Training and presentations; Research data management guidance; UNC Dataverse data repository support; Data storage solutions; Data sharing and preservation solutions; Consultations


UNC Counsel

Represents the University on legal matters involving or affecting the institution

Attorney practice areas in Information technology, intellectual property, and research

UNC Libraries

Offers support for researchers and students on finding, accessing, and purchasing data

Data services include finding data and purchasing data

UNC Research Core Facilities

Shared resources that offer services to support the UNC research community

Technical infrastructure, support and equipment for animal models, biochemistry, clinical/translational, genomics, and imaging research; Rigor and reproducibility support; Training and education


Hanisch, R., Kaiser, D. L., Yuan, A., Medina-Smith, A., Carroll, B. C., & Campo, E. (2023). NIST Research Data Framework (RDaF):: Version 1.5 (NIST SP 1500-18r1; p. NIST SP 1500-18r1). National Institute of Standards and Technology.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


RDM Guidance formatting was influenced by The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tips & Tools handouts.