NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan


The National Institute of Health (NIH) has updated their data management and sharing policy. As of January 25, 2023, all applications for NIH funding will require a data management and sharing plan (DMSP). The DMSP should include data planning throughout the research process from data generation or collection, through analysis and research work, to final curation and sharing. The NIH further emphasizes the importance of managing research participants’ data. Privacy and confidentiality of participants should be carefully considered. The NIH webpage on Scientific Data Sharing provides an overview of the new policy and is designed to help applicants create their Data Management and Sharing Plan.

The Research Data Steering Group (RDSG) can help navigate development of a Data Management and Sharing Plan for funding applications. You can reach this group to get support or schedule a consultation by filling out this request form:

Request Support

Navigation Quick Links:

Objective of the new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

The NIH updated this policy to ensure that government funded research outcomes have the maximum possible impact. This policy also emphasizes rigor and reproducibility of research and is intended to help promote data sharing as a norm. Robust and thorough data management and sharing practices are expected of researchers funded by NIH.

What should be included?

If you are submitting a proposal for NIH funding after January 25, 2023, you will need to include a robust and detailed plan for managing research data. This plan should be no more than two pages, and should include the following information:

  • Description of Data – Type, Media, Size, Metadata, Modality
  • Related tools, software and/or code – Is anything specialized needed to access or work with the data? How can these tools be accessed?
  • Standards – What kind of standards are being used – data dictionaries, identifiers, metadata
  • Preservation, Access and Timeline – What repositories will be used for preservation, how will it be identified (DOI, Persistent URL, etc.), and when will it be made available to others?
  • Access, distribution or reuse considerations: Informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, restrictions that may limit data sharing (e.g. HIPPA)
  • Oversight of Data Management and Sharing: How will compliance with the plan be monitored and managed?

NIH provides more detail about the Data Management and Sharing Plan requirements in their supplementary information document: Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan

Writing your Data Management and Sharing Plan

  • A robust data management and sharing plan requires forethought and preparation. It may be beneficial to familiarize yourself with the FAIR principles of data sharing.
  • Consider the workflow for your research process. Who is expected to interact with data? What kind of data will be produced? When will data be collected, stored, and published? Where will your data live during and after research?
  • DMPTool – The DMPTool is a valuable resource for writing Data Management Plans. It provides step by step guidance about what to include in your plan. It is free for UD researchers and is already updated with the new NIH DMSP guidance.
  • Workshops – The Library provides two workshops that may be beneficial to writing your Data Management and Sharing Plan. Keep an eye out for these workshops in the spring and fall semesters.
    • Basics of Research Data Management
    • Writing a Data Management Plan
  • NIH has developed and recorded several useful webinars providing strategies for writing the Data Management and Sharing Plan: NIH Workshops and Webinars
  • The Research Data Steering Group offers free and confidential feedback on Data Management Plans. Fill out the RDSG Service Request form and we will contact you with next steps.

Institutional Tools and Services


Part of your Data Management and Sharing plan should include how data will be managed as you are working with your data. Where will it be stored, what security measures will be taken, and who will have access to the data? There are three primary on-campus solutions for working data storage and collaboration. These solutions all require Central Authentication Service, which provides encryption. But for more sensitive data, other custom solutions may be required. Think through it carefully for your plan.

  • G Suite – Google Drive (Unlimited storage, 5TB per file limit)
  • OneDrive (5TB of storage)
  • High Performance Computing Clusters (HPC) – Farber & Caviness (Storage based on requested access, requires buy-in)

These solutions have the added benefit of being collaborative platforms, allowing you to plan out research team access and restrictions for your Data Management and Sharing Plan.

View UD Storage Resources


Sharing of data from NIH funded projects is a primary function of the new Data Management and Sharing Policy. The emphasis on sharing also differentiates the NIH policy from Data Management policies of other funding agencies and publishers. This means that determining where your data will be deposited and made available is important to include in your data management and sharing plan. There are many repository solutions that may work for your data.

  • Open Domain-Specific Data Sharing Repositories – This list of repositories is curated by NIH. These repositories are a great place to start looking. Depositing your data in a domain-specific repository will help increase the findability and relevance of your data.
  • – Re3data is a searchable directory of repositories that allows you to search by data type, security levels, access type, etc.
  • Dataverse at Harvard – Free generalist repository
  • Dryad – Generalist repository that requires data to be licensed for public domain use (There is a relatively low-cost deposit fee)
  • ICPSR – Repository for social sciences data that is free when publishing open-access data

The Research Data Steering Group can help you find the right repository for preservation and sharing of data: RDSG Service Request form

NIH Resources