Scholarly communication is at an unprecedented turning point created in part by the increasing saliency of data stewardship and data sharing. Formal data management plans represent a new emphasis in research, enabling access to data at higher volumes and more quickly, and the potential for replication and augmentation of existing research. Data sharing has recently transformed the practice, scope, content, and applicability of research in several disciplines, in particular in relation to spatially specific data. This lends exciting potentiality, but the most effective ways in which to implement such changes, particularly for disciplines involving human subjects and other sensitive information, demand consideration. Data management plans, stewardship, and sharing, impart distinctive technical, sociological, and ethical challenges that remain to be adequately identified and remedied. Here, we consider these and propose potential solutions for their amelioration.