Responding to the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

What is this page?

In this guide, you will find information about the NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy, which affects research funded or conducted by NIH that results in the generation of scientific data.

A brief overview of this policy and its scope is provided below. Click through the tabs (e.g. Writing a DMSP, Key Terms and Definitions) for more guidance and information.

To supplement this page, we have also developed a two-page guide that discusses how to prepare for the policy.

The NIH DMS Policy in Brief

The NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy goes into effect on January 25th, 2023, applying to grant applications and contract proposals submitted after this date.

This policy requires:

1. The submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan

A Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP) is a two-page document that outlines how scientific data (and metadata) will be managed and shared. Plans are to be included as part of proposals that will result in the generation of scientific data. In drafting their plans, NIH expects researchers to maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data while acknowledging that certain factors (i.e., legal, ethical, or technical) may affect the extent to which scientific data can be preserved and shared.

Shared scientific data should be made accessible as soon as possible, and no later than the time of an associated publication, or the end of the performance period, whichever comes first.

2. Compliance with the plan as approved by the applicable NIH institute, center, or office.

For grants and contracts, an approved DMSP will become a Term and Condition of the Notice of Award.

If revisions are necessary, the data management and sharing are expected to be updated by researchers and reviewed by the NIH ICO during regular reporting intervals or sooner.

NIH will monitor compliance with DMSPs throughout the funding period during regular reporting intervals (e.g., RPPRs). Noncompliance may result in the NIH ICO adding special Terms and Conditions of Award or terminating the award. If award recipients are not compliant with DMSPs at the end of the award, noncompliance may be factored into future funding decisions.

Understanding the NIH DMS Policy

Quick Links

Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing - The official announcement of the Data Management and Sharing Policy

Frequently Asked Questions - A list of FAQs related to the Data Management and Sharing Policy. Updated on an ongoing basis.

Scientific Data Sharing - An excellent starting point when looking for information about the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy as well as other data-related policies at the NIH.

Data Policies at NIH - An updated list of data sharing-related policies for individual NIH institutes and centers.

Six Things to Know

1. NIH has updated its requirements related to data management and sharing, affecting proposals received after January 25th, 2023.

The Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy can be read in full here. This policy affects all proposals that generate scientific data and is designed to complement other data-related policies at NIH, such as the genomic data sharing policy.

2. The core requirement of the new policy is the creation of a data management and sharing plan (DMSP).

These plans are two-page documents describing how data will be managed, shared, and preserved throughout the course of the proposed research. Once a proposal is funded, the plan should be kept up to date.

Individual institutes, offices, or calls for proposals may have specific requirements. But, in general, a DMSP should include the following six essential elements:

  1. A description of the data to be managed and shared.
  2. Related tools (software and code)
  3. Applicable data standards
  4. How data will be preserved and access will be granted
  5. Factors affecting subsequent access, distribution, and reuse of data
  6. A description of how compliance with the DMSP will be monitored and managed

3. Researchers will be held to the contents of their plans.

Once a proposal is funded, the contents of the DMSP will become part of the terms and conditions of the award. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions may result in enforcement action- including the addition of special terms and conditions, termination of the award, and may affect future funding decisions.

4. Researchers are expected to "maximize appropriate data sharing".

When writing plans, NIH expects researchers to describe how they will share data to the extent possible while acknowledging any ethical, legal, social, and/or technical factors that limit sharing.

To the extent possible, NIH strongly encourages the use of established data repositories for preserving and sharing scientific data and has provided guidance to help researchers identify the best repositories to preserve and share their data.

5. NIH will allow researchers to budget for data sharing.

NIH recognizes that making data accessible and reusable for other users may incur costs. Under the DMS policy, reasonable costs can be included in budget requests when associated with:

  1. Curating data and developing supporting documentation
  2. Local data management considerations
  3. Preserving and sharing data through established repositories

6. Help is available here at Stanford.

A wide variety of organizations here at Stanford are available to assist you to prepare for and comply with the DMS policy. The Stanford DMP Service has been set up to facilitate the creation of data management plans. For additional assistance, contact Lane Library.

Preparing for the DMS Policy

Describe your data

The first step in understanding how to manage and share the data related to a particular project is to describe its characteristics. Be as thorough as possible in describing the size of the data you’ll be working with, its format (or formats), how it will be organized, stored, and described, how related procedures will be documented, and what computational tools are needed for data access, processing, and analysis.

Determine what you can do with your data

Whenever possible, the DMS policy recommends sharing data through an established data repository. However, if your data has particular characteristics (e.g. it is particularly large, contains sensitive information, or is subject to IP-related concerns), how and what you share may look very different.

Reach out to local resources

Understanding the constellation of issues, practices, and technologies related to data management and sharing is not always easy. Fortunately, there are resources and experts here at Stanford to help. Schedule a consultation with Lane Library or reach out to the Stanford DMP service, and we will get you started.

Write your data management and sharing plan

Once you have described your data, worked through how you might make it available, and connected with local resources, filling in your data management and sharing plan should be relatively straightforward. Refer to related guidance and use the DMPTool, which is free and accessible using your Stanford credentials, to make this process as easy as possible.

Incorporate data management into your day-to-day research practice

Creating a data management plan for a grant proposal is really just the beginning. Once funded, you will be held to the contents of your plan. This requires implementing strategies and practices throughout your entire research workflow. For more information, see Lane’s Data Management and Sharing guide.