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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research & Publication in Medicine & Health

NIH Policy for Data Management & Sharing Plans (DMSP)

Effective January 25, 2023

NIH grant projects funded in whole or part that generate scientific data (grants, contracts, intramural research projects) must include a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP) with proposal submissions.

A DSMP is a short document that must accompany your budget justification. Plan outlines how scientific data will be managed during the project and shared upon project completion.

What you write in this Plan is what you’ll be expected to do. NIH expects any changes or deviation from the Plan will be discussed with your Program Officer. 

Non-compliance could affect future funding for researchers or associated institution.

Six Elements of a DMSP

Data that needs to be addressed in the plan includes any data needed to replicate/validate findings, including data from projects without associated publication (null findings, etc.). Data collection objects such as lab notebooks, report forms, emails, etc.need not be shared. Physical data (biospecimens for example) are not shared.
Description of the data plus metadata and documentation
  • Type and amount of data (imaging, genomic, aggregated) and degree of processing (raw vs. processed)
  • Rationale for any data that are not shared
    • Human subject data that cannot be adequately de-identified
    • Data under purview of local, state, federal or tribal entities
    • Data that cannot be reasonably made digital
  • Metadata and documentation standards for data
Related tools, software and code
  • Software tools (SPSS for example) used and availability (free or commercial)
  • Expected long-term availability of software used
Standards that will be used
  • Format standards
  • Data Dictionaries
  • Pre-defined data elements and/or definitions
Data preservation, access and timelines
  • Indetify repositories for sharing (may be multiple)
  • Address findability of data
    • Indexed
    • DOIs
  • Timeline for sharing
    • Data must be shared at time of publication or by the end of funding period
    • Length of time data will remain available
Access, distribution and reuse
  • Address consent, privacy, and confidentiality
  • Copyright licensing
  • Who is responsible for oversight of data management? (PI has ultimate responsibility)
  • How often will compliance be monitored?
Want to evaluation your plan?

Managing Costs

Allowable Costs
  • Data curation and development of documentation
  • Local data management during project, prior to deposit
  • Preservation and sharing in repositories

These funds must be expended by the conclusion of the project.

UIUC Research Data Serivce (RDS)

NIH expects data sharing to be maximized, so it wants to see researchers share as much data as possible. However, they have made provisions for tricky situations–especially in regards to human subjects research. If you must restrict data sharing for whatever reason, openly state these issues in your
Plan and include your rationale.  
  • Which data do they mean? NIH expects investigators to maximize the appropriate sharing of “scientific data”, which is defined as data commonly accepted in the scientific community as being of sufficient quality to validate and replicate the research findings. Therefore, the data that underlies research publications are the most obvious to share. However, they note that other data may also be of benefit to the scientific community, giving the example of data underlying null and negative findings. 
  • When should data be shared? NIH expects investigators to share data at the time of publication for an associated research article or at the end of the performance period, which ever is sooner.  Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants have different stipulations as outlined in their directive. 
  • How should data be shared? Domain repositories are preferred, and NIH provides a partial list here. Since a domain repository is not available for every type of data, we also have the Illinois Data Bank, a free resource for UIUC researchers. Can’t release the data openly? See UIUC’s Data Transfer and Use Agreement Guidance.
Plan Review (Optional)

The Research Data Service provides fast, free, and confidential feedback on draft Plans. We work with library-based subject experts so that our feedback incorporates disciplinary and data management expertise. Send us your draft Plan, a link to the funding announcement, and the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) deadline by email or filling out this form.  If you’ve created your Plan in the DMPTool, then select the “Request Feedback” option on the last page of your template to contact us for a review.

Data Management [and Sharing] Plan Reviews
  • What is a Data Management [and sharing] Plan?
  • How do I Write a Plan?
  • Who can help with Plans?
Data Management and Sharing Plan Best Practices
File Structure and Naming Prompt Sheet