NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Data Management, Sharing Policy Implemented

A new policy requiring researchers to plan prospectively for managing and sharing scientific data generated with NIH funds went into effect on Jan. 23. 

The data management and sharing (DMS) policy requires investigators to submit a plan for how scientific data and accompanying metadata will be managed and shared. 

“The DMS policy strikes the right balance between reasonable expectations for data sharing and flexibility to allow for diverse data types and circumstances,” said Dr. Lawrence Tabak, who is performing the duties of NIH director. “The policy establishes the expectation that data sharing is a fundamental component of the research process and maximizes the public’s access to research results that arise from NIH-funded research.”

Sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, in part, by enabling validation of research results, providing accessibility to high-value datasets and promoting data reuse for future studies. 

Under the DMS policy, NIH expects that investigators and institutions:

  • Plan and budget for managing and sharing data

  • Submit a DMS plan for review when applying for funding

  • Comply with the approved DMS plan

The policy was issued Oct. 29, 2020. Since then, NIH has participated in dozens of meetings, webinars, conferences and other events preparing the research community for implementation. 

The final policy and associated resources for implementation greatly benefited from the informed feedback. NIH will continue to engage the community moving forward to ensure the policy achieves its stated goals.

“The extraordinary speed at which Covid-19 vaccines and treatments were developed demonstrates the power of data sharing to catalyze groundbreaking research,” Tabak concluded. “By committing to responsible data management and sharing, the research community is pledging to accelerate scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs that benefit all Americans.” 

For more information about what types of research projects fall under NIH’s data management and sharing policy, and how NIH handles sharing of proprietary information, see:

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)