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Research Data Management

On January 25, 2023 the NIH implemented a new policy that requires grant applications for ALL research projects that generate scientific data to include a robust and detailed plan for how you will manage and share data during the entire funded period. The NIH refers to this plan as a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP), which is similar to what other funders call a Data Management Plan (DMP) but we will refer to it as a DMSP in this guide.


What does this mean for my grant applications?


All new and competing proposals/renewals that generate scientific data for January 25, 2023, and subsequent receipt dates, have to include a DMSP in order to qualify for approval. The DMSP will be assessed by NIH program staff (though peer reviewers will be able to comment on the proposed data management budget). The Institute, Center, or Office (ICO)-approved plan becomes a Term and Condition of the Notice of Award.


The term scientific data is defined in the policy as "The recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. Scientific data do not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, completed case report forms, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens."


What do I need to include in my DMSP?


Your plan should be two pages or fewer and must include the sections below:

  •     Data Type
  •     Related Tools, Software and/or Code
  •     Standards
  •     Data Preservation, Access, and Associated Timelines
  •     Access, Distribution, or Reuse Considerations
  •     Oversight of Data Management and Sharing.

For more information on these sections, see the NIH guidance here and in the section below, and our guide to DMPs here.

The purpose of the new policy is to support good data management practices and maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data generated from NIH-funded or conducted research. Familiarize yourself with the FAIR principles (Wilkinson et. al, 2016). The FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data principles are the guiding principles the NIH has used in creating the new policy.


When do I need to Submit my DMSP?

  • Extramural (grants): as part of the Budget Justification section of the application
  • Extramural (contracts): as part of the technical evaluation
  • Intramural: determined by the Intramural Research Program
  • Other funding agreements: prior to the release of funds

More information here.

Example DMSPs

The NIH has provided these example DMSPs for different centers.

The National Institute of Mental Health has shared these example DMSPs.

The University of Arizona libraries has provided these examples as well.



The NIH answers Frequently Asked Questions about the policy.

Some of the content above came from the University of Arizona Libraries Data Cooperative, see their helpful guide for more information.


Read the NIH guidance below, along with supplementary information and FAQs from the NIH's Office of Science Policy.