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. Updated: June 20, 2023

2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

The 2023 NIH Policy requires all grant applications or renewals that generate scientific data to include a robust and detailed plan for how the data will be managed and shared during the entire funded period. This Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMS Plan) should include information on data storage, access policies/procedures, preservation, metadata standards, distribution approaches, and more.

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."

The DMS Plan will be assessed by NIH Program Officers (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.

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Implementation Steps

  1. Determine your 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. For example, the Countway Library DMP Review Service requires two weeks notice for review.

  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 project and data management practices relative to the policy, especially around documenting and developing practices to address the emphasis on data sharing and administrative oversight.

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

Data Management and Sharing Plan

If you plan to generate scientific data, you must submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan to the funding NIH ICO in the Budget Justification section of your application for extramural awards. We recommend using the NIH template in DMPTool to create your plan. Log in with HarvardKey to access guidance and additional support services. Find more information on DMPTool.

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. NIH has provided sample DMS Plans as examples of how a DMS Plan could be completed in different contexts, conforming to the elements described in the Policy. These sample DMS Plans are provided for educational purposes to assist applicants with developing Plans but are not intended to be used as templates and their use does not guarantee approval by NIH. See Data Management Plans for more guidance.

Additional Support

NIH Resources

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