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NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy: Writing a Data Management Plan

This guide is intended to assist researchers with data management planning and implementation required for grant applications.

Writing Data Management and Sharing Plans

Data management and sharing plans must be submitted with all applications for NIH funding. Plans undergo programmatic assessment by the NIH, as determined by the proposed institute or center. As a project progresses, plans should be updated by researchers and assessed by NIH program staff during regular reporting intervals. Once an award is made, compliance with the accepted plan becomes a part of the terms and conditions of the award and compliance will be monitored at regular reporting intervals. The mechanism and tools for oversight are currently in development by the NIH, but the new NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing states that compliance can factor into future funding decisions.

In general, the NIH expects data management and sharing plans to be 2 pages or less in length and recommends that researchers consider and include the following elements:

  • Data type (e.g. what data are you planning to generate, preserve, and share)
  • Related tools, software, and/or code needed to access and manipulate the data
  • Standards that you’ll be collecting the scientific data under and/or standards for any metadata that will also be shared with the scientific data
  • Data preservation, access, and timelines, including a description of the repository you will use, any persistent or unique identifiers that will be attached to the work or the data, when data will be made available, and how long data will be made available
  • Access, distribution, and reuse considerations including any limitations on secondary research use that stem from ethical, legal, and/or technical factors that may require limiting distribution
  • Oversight of data management, including a description of how the plan will be implemented and who will be responsible for monitoring plan compliance

Full descriptions of these plan elements can be found on the NIH guide to writing a data management and sharing plan and in the Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan.

The DMPTool, developed by the University of California Curation Center, provides some public examples of data management plans that have been submitted to prior to the implementation of the new policy that might be helpful in drafting a data management and sharing plan after the implementation of the new NIH policy in 2023.