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The NIH Announces the Final Data Management and Sharing Policy

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) issued the final Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy on October 29, 2020, which will be effective until January 25, 2023. The final Policy is intended to promote the management and sharing of data generated from NIH funded or conducted scientific research.

The NIH stressed the sharing of scientific research data for three primary purposes, including validation and replication of studies and data reuse.

This Policy establishes the requirements of submission of Data Management and Sharing Plan and compliance with NIH Institute, Center, or Office (ICO)-approved Plans. According to the final Policy, scientific data are the recorded factual materials commonly accepted in the scientific community as sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. The final Policy states that scientific data do not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, completed case report forms, manuscript drafts, future research plans, peer reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens.

The final DMS Policy strongly encourages reasonable efforts to digitize data and for researchers to use established repositories to the extent possible to share the data, but it does not require data digitalization. The shared scientific data should be made accessible as soon as possible, and no later than the time of an associated publication, or the end of the award/support period, whichever comes first.

Who is required to submit the DMS plan?

The NIH’s Final DMS Policy requires all grant applicants to submit a DMS Plan at the time of applying for extramural grants. The NIH stated that this approach is more conducive to achieving NIH’s goal of promoting a culture in which data management and sharing are recognized as an integral component of a biomedical research project, rather than an administrative or additive one.

The Policy states that the Plan should explain how scientific data generated by research projects will be managed and which of these scientific data and accompanying metadata will be shared. The Plan will be submitted to the funding NIH ICO as part of the Budget Justification section of the application for extramural awards, as part of the technical evaluation for contracts. The NIH staff will evaluate the Plan, and peer-reviewers will comment on, but the Plan’s peer review will not affect the score.

For more detailed information, please go to the NIH DMS Policy page.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Office of Science Policy
SciencePolicy@od.nih.gov