NIH Data Sharing Plan Guide: NIH Data Sharing Policy

NIH Mandate Milestones

Which NIH Grants Require Data Sharing Plans?

  • All grants seeking “$500K or more in direct costs in any one year” should explain how the final research data will be shared, or justifying why it cannot be shared;
  • Applications that involve developing model organisms are to include plans for sharing and distributing these resources; and,
  • Studies involving large-scale human and non-human genomic data must adhere to the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy. For more details, see the NIH GDS Policy page.

NIH General Guidelines

According to the NIH guidelines (2003), researchers submitting grant, cooperative, or contract applications will be required to include a data sharing plan or an explanation of why data sharing is not possible - see the NIH Data Sharing Policy information page and FAQs. Data sharing plans or an explanation should be addressed in a brief paragraph placed after the research plan. The content of the data sharing plan will vary depending on the data being collected. The following may be included:

  • Schedule for data sharing
  • Format of final dataset
  • Documentation to be provided
  • Analytical tools to be provided, if any
  • Need for data sharing agreement
  • Mode of data sharing

If your Data Sharing Plan needs to be longer than a brief paragraph, a few paragraphs to less than a page is likely the current norm. Also note the NIH guidelines state that "Data Sharing Plan should follow immediately after the Research Plan Section 1. Letter of Support, PHS 398. [...] and your Data Sharing Plan would not count towards the application page limit".

NIH allows requests for funds to prepare, document, and archive the data, in which case relevant information should be included in the budget and budget justification sections.