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Data Management Plan Guide

Learn how to write a data management plan!

National Institutes of Health

NIH has a variety of subprograms and groups with their own requirements and guidelines. Additional individual calls for proposals may have their own conditions.

In general:

  • NIH expects that data supporting published analysis are to be shared. This policy has been in place since 2003.
  • NIH considers “digital” data to be data that has been recorded in any electronic format that can be accessed using a computer. Software is not regarded as "data" but it is recognized that access to software and other tools may be necessary to to access and interpret the data (i.e. they may need to be covered in your plan).
  • Access to data is expected to be free.
  • The data supporting the main findings of a research paper should be released no later than the date of publication acceptance. See Timeliness of Data Sharing for more details.
  • Clinical trial data is encouraged to be submitted to the ClinicalTrials.gov even if it is not required.
  • Data sharing and archiving costs are considered research costs.
    • Researchers are expected to find a balance between cost and the value of data preservation

Resource Sharing Plans

Resource sharing plans encompass any of the following applicable pieces/policies:

  • Data Sharing Plan
  • Sharing Model Organisms
  • Genomic Data Sharing (GDS)

From: Resource Sharing plans, 2015-03-18

Details are on Pg 154 of the General Instructions fo NIH and PHS Agencies. SF424 (R&R). Application Packages [PDF]

NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy

Policy in effect as of Jan 25, 2015.

Human Data Sharing

This policy applies to "data developed in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP)".

From the website:

Key Points of Policy

  1. This Policy applies to all human data in the NIH IRP, including the NIH Clinical Center as well as NIH Institutes and Centers. 
  2. A Data Sharing Plan (PDF File) must be developed for any research involving human data.
  3. Data Sharing Plans will be included in the institute scientific review process for research involving human data.
  4. The Institute Scientific Director (SD) or their designee is responsible for approving all Data Sharing Plans.
  5. All IRP-supported clinical investigators are expected to develop protocols and consent processes/forms to enable broad data sharing for secondary research consistent with this Policy.
  6. Sharing data for secondary research purposes shall comply with human subjects research regulations and procedures, if applicable.
  7. All IRP investigators are encouraged to deposit data in publicly accessible research repositories for sharing to the extent feasible and appropriate.
  8. This Policy is effective as of October 1, 2015. Any intramural research involving human data undergoing scientific review after October 1, 2015 must have a data sharing plan.
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