This page is intended to inform the LMA community about the new NIH policy, linking to appropriate information and resources whenever possible. It will be updated as new information becomes available.

What's new about the 2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy?

The 2023 Policy is entirely new. Previously, the NIH only required grants with $500,000 per year or more in direct costs to provide a brief explanation of how and when data resulting from the grant would be shared. Beginning in 2023, all grant applications or renewals that generate scientific data must now include a robust and detailed plan for how you will manage and share data during the entire funded period. This includes information on data storage, access policies/procedures, preservation, metadata standards, distribution approaches, and more. You must provide this information in a data management and sharing plan (DMSP). The DMSP is similar to what other funders call a data management plan (DMP).

The DMSP will be assessed by NIH Program Officers (though peer reviewers will 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.

Featured Resources:

Paper Document IconDownload the NIH Data Management & Sharing Policy Briefing Sheet for Harvard Researchers: Policy Overview and Implications and explore the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy FAQ for Harvard-focused information

Paper Document IconDownload the Harvard NIH DMSP Budgeting and Application Instructions – Tip Sheet for guidance focused toward Principal Investigators and grant managers working together to complete an application, which includes the newly required DMSP

Paper Document IconReview the critical aspects of the policy in the Science article "Ready, set, share: Researchers brace for new data-sharing rules"

Paper Document IconRead recent articles from the Harvard Data Science Review on "Changing the Culture on Data Management and Data Sharing in Biomedicine"

Paper Document IconVisualize key recommendations in the PLOS Computational Biology article "Ten simple rules for maximizing the recommendations of the NIH data management and sharing plan"

Paper Document IconUtilize the FASEB DataWorks! Data Management Plan (DMP) Challenge Evaluation Rubric


What do I need to do?

A DMSP must be submitted as part of the funding application for all new and competing proposals/renewals that generate scientific data for January 25, 2023, and subsequent receipt dates. 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."


High-level first steps

  1. Determine your personal timeline. Developing a DMSP should be a high priority, especially if you are working with external collaborators as it may take time to set up appropriate data procedures or agreements. Start early to ensure you have time to consult with campus service providers before your application is due.

  2. Discuss the new requirements with colleagues—at Harvard, at upcoming scientific meetings, and in other settings—to help shape expectations within their scientific field around data management and sharing and, potentially, inform the requirements of NIH programs related to that field.

  3. Read through this webpage to familiarize yourself with the changes and the policy (including the supplements). Attend local training sessions with data management experts to learn about the policy and ask timely questions.

  4. Designate a lab data manager who will develop expertise in data management workflows relevant to your lab. Assess your own project and data management practices relative to the policy, especially around documenting existing practices and developing new ones to address the increased emphasis on data sharing and administrative oversight.

  5. Review campus data services and assess whether they will meet your needs. Make requests to your Department, HMS Research Computing, Countway Library, and others as you identify specific tools or resources that would facilitate data management and data sharing for your lab members.


What do I need to submit as a part of my proposal?

If you plan to generate scientific data, you must submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan to the funding NIH ICO as part of the Budget Justification section of your application for extramural awards. An optional Data Management and Sharing Plan format page will be provided by the NIH to assist applicants with the preparation of this attachment.

The Plan is recommended not to exceed two pages and must include:

  • 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.

See Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan for a detailed description of these Elements.

To draft the plan itself, we recommend the DMPTool (log in with HarvardKey) using the NIH template. Additional guidance for completing each section will be added to the DMPTool. Find more information on DMPTool.


Where can I get help?

NIH Resources

Harvard Resources

Have questions or need help preparing for this new policy or tightening your data management and sharing practices? Request a training.


Last Updated: February 15, 2023