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NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans

This guide will present three options for engaging with content on how to write Data Management and Sharing Plans for NIH grants. Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced options will be available which will cover all necessary elements for writing the plan and

NIH Policy

Data Management and Sharing Policy On or After Jan. 25, 2023:

NIH has issued the Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy (effective January 25, 2023) to promote the sharing of scientific data. Sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, in part, by enabling validation of research results, providing accessibility to high-value datasets, and promoting data reuse for future research studies. Access the full text of the 2023 Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing here

Under the DMS policy, NIH expects that investigators and institutions:
  • Plan and budget for the managing and sharing of data 
  • Submit a DMS plan for review when applying for funding 
  • Comply with the approved DMS plan 

Individual NIH institutes, Centers, or Offices may have additional policies and expectations (see NIH Institute and Center Data Sharing Policies).

DMS Policy applies to all research that generates scientific data, including: 
  • Research Projects 
  • Some Career Development Awards 
  • Small Business SBIR/STTR 
    • Under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive effective May 2, 2019, SBIR and STTR awardees may withhold applicable data for 20 years after the award date, as stipulated in the specific SBIR/STTR funding agreement and consistent with achieving program goals. SBIR and STTR awardees are expected to submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan for DMS Policy requirements. 
  • Research Centers 

DMS Policy does not apply to research and other activities that do not generate scientific data, including: 
  • Training
  • Fellowships
  • Construction
  • Conference Grants
  • Resources

For more information see Which Policies Apply to My Research? and NIH activity codes subject to the DMS Policy.

Scientific Data Definition

Scientific data is defined as data commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. 

  • Includes any data needed to validate and replicate research findings.
  • It does not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, completed case report forms, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects such as laboratory specimens. 
  • Issues related to proprietary data can also arise when co-funding is provided by the private sector (for example, the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries). NIH recognizes that the extent of data sharing may be limited by restrictions imposed by licensing limitations attached to materials needed to conduct the research. Applicants should discuss projects with proposed collaborators early to avoid agreements that prohibit or unnecessarily restrict data sharing. NIH staff will evaluate justifications of investigators who believe that they are unable to share data.