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Data management and sharing requirements: Tips and tricks to plan ahead

Akanni Clarke
Akanni CLARKE,
Program Director (Health Scientist Administrator),
Division of Neuroscience (DN)
Grayson Donley
Grayson DONLEY,
Division of Neuroscience (DN).

As you may know, including a data sharing plan as part of your grant application is already a requirement for large applications, applications generating genomic data, and applications to many current NIA Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). Effective Jan. 25, 2023, the Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) requires all NIH-supported research that generates scientific data to include a Data Management and Sharing Plan, or “Plan” for short.

Data management and sharing is an important NIH-wide priority and NIA continues to be a leader in these efforts to raise the bar for disseminating data, knowledge, research, and tools. Our colleagues’ previous posts highlighted the data and resources available through NIA’s open science translational research programs and new requirements for data and biosample sharing from AD/ADRD clinical trials. By enabling and promoting open science practices, NIA is setting a high standard for data and resource sharing, aligning with the FAIR Principles that open science is imperative for rigorous and reproducible research, robust innovation, and accelerated progress.

You don’t need to wait until 2023 to embrace the principles of data sharing! Getting in the habit early will benefit the advancement of science overall. As this new policy gets closer to NIH-wide implementation, following are some tips to help prospective grantees get ready.

Preparing a Data Management and Sharing Plan: Beyond conferences and publications

Many NIA FOAs, regardless of budget size, already require that raw and processed primary data, analytical outputs, and biosamples be made available to the research community rapidly and broadly. This is particularly relevant for grants producing omic and genetic data or analytical and research tools. It’s also germane to grants developing new animal models or using animal models to test therapeutics, as well as to clinical research grants that collect biosamples and participant-level data.

The new NIH-wide Policy defines scientific data 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.” Accordingly, Plans should outline where, when, and how these resources will be shared.

A comprehensive Plan should:

  • Identify the data types and resources that will be generated
  • Propose a timeline for sharing the data and resources
  • Determine where the resources will be stored (for example, NIH/NIA-designated repositories, other public or institutional repository)
  • Describe how the community can access the resources

Read the FOA!

Many NIA FOAs specify the types of data that should be shared, the expectations for the timing of data release, and the recommended sharing repositories. If you are submitting a grant application, be sure to familiarize yourself with the data sharing expectations for that particular FOA. Supplemental information to the DMS Policy includes details on allowable costs associated with data management and sharing. Be sure to budget for these, including data curation, storage, maintenance, and hosting.

Prior to issuing an award, NIA will review your Plan to ensure it meets expectations, and when necessary, request modifications. NIA will review Plan compliance annually as one consideration for approving continued funding.

Resources for planning ahead

To learn more about resources that are useful to the development of a Plan, please review the NIA data sharing resources for researchers webpage, and don’t hesitate to contact your Program Officer if you have any additional questions. We look forward to working with you and hearing your thoughts. Please leave a comment below!

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