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Managing Research Data for Public Access: Getting Started

What's in This Guide

Getting Started

Background, featured resources and related guides.

FAQs and Definitions

An introduction to data management. 

1. Before Research Begins

Creating a data management plan and identifying research data.

2. During the Research Project

A step-by-step guide to managing research data.

3. After Research Concludes

Packaging data and submitting it to a repository.

Data Management Plans

National and state guidance and other resources.

Additional Resources

National guidance and related training modules.

Authors and Contributors

This Resource Guide was prepared by CTC & Associates LLC for the Transportation Research and Connectivity pooled fund study, TPF-5(442), under the guidance of the following members of the study's technical advisory committee:

This guide is a living document that is intended to be revised and updated to incorporate new resources. To suggest a resource for inclusion, please contact one of the committee members listed above.

Publication date: December 2021.

This resource guide outlines the steps involved in making data sets from research projects publicly accessible, including a step-by-step guide for before, during and after the research process. This guide is designed for transportation researchers, especially those who need to comply with the U.S. DOT Public Access Plan for DOT-funded research projects. 

This resource guide addresses:

  • Data management plans and principles.
  • Organizational strategies for working with data during a research project.
  • Packaging the data for submission to a data repository.

Background on U.S. DOT Requirements

In 2013, a White House memorandum established new requirements for improving the public’s access to the results of federally funded research, including relevant research data. The 2015 U.S. DOT Public Access Plan laid out a strategy focused on publications, data and projects, including the requirement that all U.S. DOT-funded projects follow a data management plan and submit their research data to a publicly accessible repository.

Learn more

Introduction to Data Management

These resources provide an introduction to the principles of open data and data management.

Data Best Practices and Case Studies, resource guide, Stanford University Libraries, last updated November 2021.

Create Metadata for Your Research Project, resource guide, Stanford University Libraries, last updated November 2021.


Data Management Workshop, presentation, California Digital Library, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, September 2018. 

Workshop topics include the U.S. DOT Public Access Plan and its requirements, guidance for writing a data management plan, best practices in managing data, and archiving and publishing data.

Sample Data Management Plans

About the Pooled Fund

Transportation Research and Connectivity logoThe Transportation Research and Connectivity pooled fund study, TPF-5(442), is a consortium of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other partners that supports the coordinated development of transportation libraries as well as research organizations without dedicated libraries. Study focus areas include communication and networking, digitization, research report accessibility, and developing online resource guides and a toolkit for non-librarians.

Featured Resource

How to Share Publications and Datasets Under the USDOT Public Data Access Plan, presentation, National Transportation Library, February 2018.

Featured Webinar

Data Management Checklist, Part 5, Section 3 of TRB Webinar series "U.S. DOT Public Access Plan and Data Management Primer," 2016.

Related Resource Guides

Data Management Plan (DMP) Guide
Iowa State University

Data Best Practices and Case Studies
Stanford University Libraries

ROSA P: How to Submit Datasets
National Transportation Library

Research Data Management
Texas A&M University

Data Management Plans
Northwestern University

Data Management Best Practices
University of Minnesota

Data Management Plans
California State University, Long Beach

Data Management Planning for NMSU Researchers
New Mexico State University