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NIH Data Management & Sharing (DMS) Policy

General Considerations

  • Plans should be no longer than two pages and include the 6 elements described below.
  • Plans are "living documents" and may be updated throughout the award period (subject to approval)
  • The original plan must be filled out in its entirety without placeholder language (e.g. “to be determined”)

Required Elements and Format

The NIH issued supplemental guidance outlining six required Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan. These elements should be addressed in a supplemental document of approximately two pages.

Explore the information required in each element by clicking on the panels below:

Summarize the scientific data necessary to validate your findings.
☐ List or create a table to describe the datasets that will be created or used as part of the study, including:
  • ☐ Data type, format, size, and number of files (estimate quantities as necessary).
  • ☐ Which datasets will be shared.
  • ☐ The level of aggregation, de-identification, or processing/cleaning that will be done prior to sharing.
  • ☐ The source of any secondary data, previously collected data reused in this project.
☐ List the metadata and other documentation (e.g. a README file) that will be shared with your data to facilitate interpretation.
Identify tools, software, and/or code necessary to access or manipulate the shared data.
☐ State whether or not specialized tools are needed. For each tool that is necessary, list:
  • ☐ Version number and operating system,
  • ☐ How they can be accessed (i.e., open source and freely available, generally available for a fee in the marketplace, or available only from the research team or some other source),
  • ☐ How long they will be available (if known).
List the standards that will be used for sharing the data and metadata.
☐ State whether or not there are data standards for your field that are applicable to your project. Typical data standards include:
  • Metadata schemas
  • Standard Terminologies (Controlled Vocabulary and Ontologies)
  • Content/Encoding Standards
  • Common Data Elements
  • Identifiers (PIDs)
Provide details and timelines for sharing and preserving data for long term usability.
☐ Name the repository(ies) where data will be archived:
  • a. If a particular metadata standard is required, list in the standards section.
  • b. A specific NIH repository may be required in the funding opportunity announcement.
☐ Specify which type of unique identifier is used by the repository (DOI, handle, ID number, accession number) (Note- an identifier is not required at time of DMS plan submission).
☐ Revisit your data list from section 1 and state when the data will be made available (portions of the data may be released at different times). Timelines required by the policy are:
  • a. Data will be made available when the work is published or the award/support period ends (whichever comes first) OR
  • b. Data will be made available earlier.
☐ State the minimum number of years data will be available, based on repository policies.
Describe how sharing will be maximized while respecting restrictions.
☐ Describe any considerations that may affect the extent of data sharing:
  • Legal
  • Technical
  • Ethical
☐ Consider whether data can be shared with access controls or, if there are intellectual property concerns, an embargo period, rather than refraining from sharing altogether.
☐ If you have human subjects data, describe how you will protect the privacy, rights, and confidentiality of study participants (de-identification, etc.)
Identify who will be responsible for plan compliance and oversight.
☐ List names and titles/roles of everyone who will be responsible for monitoring compliance with the data management plan and updating it as needed.
☐ State how often compliance with the data management plan will be verified (e.g. every ___ months, on the first of each month)

Ohio State sample answer (provided by the Office of Sponsored Programs):
The Principal Investigator will oversee the management and sharing of data during the award period of performance. The PI will report on the execution of data management and sharing activities including any changes made since the proposal through the annual Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). If applicable, the subaward co-investigator(s) will work with the Principal Investigator to be sure that all sites are in compliance with the Data Management and Sharing Plan.

This information is also available as a downloadable checklist:

For more information:

Resources for Writing Your DMS Plan

Ohio State has resources to help make writing your NIH DMS plan easier:

IMPORTANT: DMPTool lists three template options for the NIH. Researchers should select the NIH-Default DMSP template.

The DMPTool is a piece of software that will help you create your NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan.

DMPTool Promotional Video from California Digital Library.


Researcher Checklist
Badger, K., Calkins, H., Carr Jones, L., Grynoch, T., Koshoffer, A., LaPreze, D., May, A., Nieman, C., Otsuji, R., Phegley, L., & Ye, H. (2022). Data management and sharing plan checklist for researchers. Working Group on NIH DMSP Guidance.

DMS Data Glossary
Denton, A., Exner, N., Hertz, M., LaPreze, D., Nieman, C., & Sheffield, C. (2022). Glossaries. Working Group on NIH DMSP Guidance.