Data Management and Sharing

Starting January 25, 2023, all NIH grant applications are required to follow new policy.

The purpose of this resource is to highlight best practices related to data management and sharing so that you can ensure your data can be understood, used, and built upon by you, your collaborators, and other scholars.

Creating a plan that describes how data will be managed and shared throughout the course of a project is an important step in ensuring that your data can be found and used. Many funding agencies, such as the NSF, NIH, and USDA, require that a data management plan (DMP) is submitted as part of grant proposals.

Many academic journals also require the submission of relevant data with manuscripts to promote open access and research reproducibility.

A DMP created as part of a grant application is really just the beginning. It is also important that your plan is kept up-to-date and communicated to everyone involved in managing and sharing your data. Your plan, as it is applied over the timeline of your project, is living documentation of operating procedures put into practice by you and your collaborators. Many data management issues can be handled easily or avoided entirely by planning ahead.


Available Tools
DMPTool DMPTool is a free online tool that contains templates for a number of funding agencies including NSF and NIH. You can access a template, example answers, and guidance resources.
ICPSR Sample Plan The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research has an example plan. The ICPSR also offers to archive and manage the distribution of archived data. A letter of commitment from ICPSR is required if their archiving services will be used.
NIH Sample Plan The NIH has provided samples of DMPs in different biomedical research contexts.
UIW Libguide Read the UIW Libguide on Open Data.


Terminology and Descriptions
Data The elements of a project - whether they consist of values entered into spreadsheets, images, or other formats - that are required to evaluate, reproduce, or build upon the analyses or conclusions of the project. For the purposes of this guide, this includes “raw” data, processed data, research-related code, and documentation pertaining to study parameters and procedures.
Data Management Activities and behaviors related to data storage, organization, documentation, and dissemination. Proper data management is characterized by standardization (every member of a research team follows the same set of practices) and documentation (details of how data is to be managed, recorded, communicated, and updated).
Data Management Plan Formal documents that specify how scholars plan to manage and share the data associated with a project. Many funding agencies require that a DMP is submitted as part of grant proposals.
Data Sharing While the term can refer to sharing data through a public repository, such as the UIW data repository, it also includes sharing through more mediated or controlled mechanisms such as data access agreements, data use agreements, etc.

Content condensed from Stanford Libraries and Harvard Medical School