In October of 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its new Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy. Beginning in January 2023, this policy will require that all NIH researchers prospectively plan for how their scientific data and accompanying metadata will be preserved and shared by submitting a Data Management and Sharing Plan in their grant applications. This new plan goes into effect on January 25, 2023 replacing the current Data Management and Sharing Policy from 2003. The new policy continues NIH’s commitment to making sure that the results and outputs of NIH funded research are available to the public.
What do you need to know about the new NIH DMS policy?
- The new policy applies to any researcher funded in whole or in part by NIH whose research generates scientific data, whereas the current policy only applies to grants requesting more than $500,000 of direct costs in a single year.
- The policy requires investigators to submit an official Data Management and Sharing Plan as part of their request for funding. It does not require researchers to share data per se but expects them to maximize their data sharing. NIH strongly encourages the use of established repositories to the extent possible for preserving and sharing scientific data.
- It allows investigators to request funding for personnel costs or other fees related to data management and sharing activities; however, the money must be spent during the grant’s award period.
- Grant reviewers will see the data management plan and can comment on the budget, but plans are not used to determine the grant’s scientific merit.
- Researchers will need to think ahead when planning research projects to take data sharing into consideration. For example, those planning clinical studies will need to clearly communicate with prospective subjects via informed consent documentation about how their scientific data are expected to be used and shared.
- The approved plan becomes a part of the terms and conditions of the grant. Compliance will be monitored at regular reporting intervals and may factor into future funding decisions.
Additional Sources of Information
- NIH’s newly released FAQs are intended to help clarify the new DSM Policy and will be updated on an ongoing basis.
- Additional supplemental information from NIH includes Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan, Allowable Costs for Data Management and Sharing, and Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting from NIH-Supported Research. The NIH Office of Science Policy has some additional resources on scientific data sharing.