Prepare To Follow the Final NIH Policy on Sharing and Managing Data

Funding News Edition: December 02, 2020
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As part of a longstanding commitment to ensuring that research is made available to the public, NIH issued its Final Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy), which goes into effect on January 25, 2023.

The DMS Policy applies to all research generating scientific data that is funded or conducted, in whole or in part, by NIH. This includes research funded or conducted by extramural grants, contracts, intramural research projects, or other funding agreements regardless of NIH funding level or funding mechanism. NIH encourages data management and data sharing practices consistent with the FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship.

The DMS Policy does not apply to activities that do not generate scientific data, including training, infrastructure development, and non-research activities.

Several funding opportunity announcements already identify data sharing as a reviewable element that can affect an application’s overall impact score, and we anticipate more will do so in the future.

Create a Plan

Under the DMS Policy, NIH requires researchers to submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan (Plan) that, as the name implies, details how they plan to manage scientific data generated by research projects and which of these scientific data and accompanying metadata will be shared.

When drafting Plans, NIH expects researchers to maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data, acknowledging certain factors, e.g., legal, ethical, or technical, that may affect the extent to which scientific data are preserved and shared.

Additionally, for any potential limitations on subsequent data use, researchers should communicate them to individuals or entities (e.g., data repository managers) that will preserve and share the scientific data. In their budget request, researchers may include reasonable, allowable costs associated with curating data and developing supporting documentation; local data management considerations; and preserving and sharing data through established repositories. Learn more by reading Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Allowable Costs for Data Management and Sharing and Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting From NIH-Supported Research.

The relevant NIH Institute, Center, or Office (ICO) will assess whether Plans appropriately consider and describe these factors. Once an ICO approves a Plan, NIH expects researchers and institutions to implement data management and sharing practices as described.

For further details on what to include in a Plan, see the October 29, 2020 Guide notice on Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan.

Additional Information

See the October 29, 2020 Guide notice for the Final NIH DMS Policy as well as background information, including public feedback that NIH received in response to the November 6, 2019 Request for Comments on a Draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing and Supplemental Draft Guidance

Note that in addition to the various Supplemental Information listed here, NIH plans to have frequently asked questions and other implementation information for researchers before the DMS Policy’s effective date. 

Future Webinar

Staff in our Office of Data Science and Emerging Technologies (ODSET) will be planning a related webinar with a speaker from NIH’s Office of Science Policy to review the DMS Policy. The date is pending, but we will let you know when it has been set.

Have Questions?

Direct inquiries to either NIAID’s ODSET or the NIH Office of Science Policy

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