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Data Management Plans: NIH Data Sharing Policy


Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing Released October 29, 2020; Effective January 25, 2023

In NIH's view, all data should be considered for data sharing. Data should be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, and protecting confidential and proprietary data.

To facilitate data sharing, investigators are expected to include a plan for sharing final research data for research purposes, or state why data sharing is not possible.

The current NIH Data Sharing Policy applies:

  • To the sharing of final research data for research purposes.
  • To basic research, clinical studies, surveys, and other types of research supported by NIH. It applies to research that involves human subjects and laboratory research that does not involve human subjects. It is especially important to share unique data that cannot be readily replicated.
  • To applicants seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year of the proposed project period through grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts.
  • To research applications submitted between October 1, 2003 and January 25, 2023. On January 25, 2023, the NIH Final Policy for Data Management and Sharing will come into effect.

The Data Sharing Plan follows the Research Plan Section and does not count toward the page limit.

See NIH's Data Sharing page for full details.


NIH encourages the use of established, subject-specific repositories. To select a repository relevant to your data consider:

  1. Is there a specific NIH repository named in the funding announcement?
  2. Is there a data repository specific to your discipline?
  3. If not, is there a general data repository you can use? 
  4. The MOspace campus digital repository is another option.  It’s best suited for small datasets in readily available formats such as Excel, PDF, or Word that can be shared under a Creative Commmons BY-NC-ND License

For additional guidance, see NIH supplemental information on Selecting a Resository 

What to Include in your Plan

In a supplemental document of two pages or less, address the following six sections:

  1. Data Type: Briefly describe the scientific data to be managed, preserved, and shared, including:

  2. Related Tools, Software and/or Code: An indication of whether specialized tools will be needed to access or manipulate the shared scientific data to support replication or reuse, and name(s) of the needed tool(s) and software.
  3. Standards: An indication of what standards will be applied to the scientific data and associated metadata (i.e., data formats, data dictionaries, data identifiers, definitions, unique identifiers, and other data documentation). If the discipline of the research does not have a shared approach to data structures, the Plan may indicate that no consensus data standards exist for this scientific data and metadata.
  4. Data Preservation, Access, and Associated Timelines: Plans and timelines for data preservation and access, including (a) specific repository or repositories where data will be shared (see tab on the left on repositories); what persistent identifier or other indexing tool will be provided to find and access the data; and when data will become available and for how long it will stay available.

  5. Access, Distribution, or Reuse Considerations: Any limits that will be placed on access, and why the limits are expected to be placed.
  6. Oversight of Data Management and Sharing: Indicate how and on what schedule the DMS Plan will be monitored and managed, and by whom.

Final guidelines will be available soon. UCI libraries has a template available.