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Edward G. Miner Library

Data Management: FAQs

This guide provides resources for managing and sharing your research data no matter the discipline.

What is this page?

On this page, you will find responses to frequently asked questions about the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. The information on this page is not meant to be exhaustive. In many cases, answers will depend on what type of research data being created.

Up to date information regarding the NIH DMS Policy can also be found on the About Page of the NIH Scientific Data Sharing Website.

Can you tell us more about the new institutional access to Figshare?

UR will be getting a University license. This will allow everybody to use University of Rochester Research Repository (URRR) hosted on Figshare, which is an excellent way to release data.  If you have very large data sets, there is a storage charge depending on size of the data.

  • Every UR community member will be allotted 10GB of initial storage and data submissions will also undergo a light data curation process by the UR libraries, helping ensure your data meets funder and publisher standards.

"I have publication records dating back to [insert year] how do I get these linked to and/or listed in URRR? And would doing so cause them to be "owned" by the URRR version of FigShare and thus no longer listed under my ownership?"

URRR users can troubleshoot this by configuring their ORCID via DataCite:

More information can be found via:

NOTE: According to the URRR scope statement about copyright:

Content may be removed in case of violation of deposit agreement or other exceptional circumstances, in which case only the record will remain with the following message: “Item withdrawn by authority of the University of Rochester.”   

Data deposits will remain in the repository for at least five years, upon which researchers will be contacted to determine if the data will stay or be removed. 

Do I need to share all of my data openly?

Not necessarily. In writing their DMSPs, researchers are expected to “maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data generated from NIH-funded or conducted research, consistent with privacy, security, informed consent, and proprietary issues.”

This is not an explicit requirement to share data openly, meaning without restriction on who it is shared with and for what purpose. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that, because of certain ethical, legal, and social issues, not all data can be shared openly or even shared at all.

Any restrictions on data sharing should be reflected in the data management and sharing plan. NIH has given the following as examples of why data may not be shared. Informed consent will not permit or will limit the scope or extent of sharing and future research use.

  1. Existing consent (e.g., for previously collected biospecimens) prohibits sharing or limits the scope or extent of sharing and future research use.
  2. Privacy or safety of research participants would be compromised or place them at greater risk of re-identification or suffering harm, and protective measures such as de-identification and certificates of confidentiality would be insufficient.
  3. Explicit federal, state, local, or Tribal law, regulation, or policy prohibits disclosure.
  4. Datasets cannot practically be digitized with reasonable efforts.

What data needs to be shared under the DMS Policy?

In writing their data management and sharing plans, NIH expects researchers to “maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data generated from NIH-funded or conducted research, consistent with privacy, security, informed consent, and proprietary issues.”

The policy does not state that all data needs to be shared openly, meaning without restriction on who can reuse the data and for what purpose. However, restrictions on data sharing need to be outlined in the data management and sharing plan.

Read More: Protecting Privacy When Sharing Human Research Participant Data

What costs can be included/not included?

Budget caps have not been increased but, under the DMS policy, NIH will allow researchers to add reasonable costs related to data management and sharing in their proposals as direct costs. Costs that have explicitly been called out as being allowed include the following:

  1. Curating data and developing supporting documentation
  2. Local data management considerations
  3. Preserving and sharing data through established repositories

Read More: Allowable Costs for Data Management and Sharing

What happens in the case of a no-cost extension?

In the case of a no-cost extension, data management and sharing-related requirements are extended to the end of the extended performance period.

What about data policies at different funders?

As of now, the DMS policy applies to only research funded by NIH. However, as outlined in a memo in August 2022 from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), other federal agencies will be proposing and adopting policies and requirements related to the sharing of the products of federally funded research (e.g. peer-reviewed articles, datasets) in the coming years.

Read More: Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research

Is it acceptable to say that sequencing data will be stored on GEO?

Yes, it is acceptable to say that sequencing data will be stored on GEO.

Does the NIH policy encourage or discourage any particular data formats for clinical trials? For example SAS?

They will likely encourage data formats and coding languages/systems that are open source.  However, they do not forbid analytics that require a subscription (e.g. MATLAB, SAS, MATHEMATICA, etc.). The data itself, however, should be in an accessable format that is standard in the field (e.g. CSV, DICOM, FCS3, etc.)

In a detailed budget, are we able to rebudget to/from DMS as needed during award period akin to "Other Costs"?

Since the plan and compliance with it will be a term and condition of the award, I would think re-budgeting those costs without prior approval would not be allowable.

Does the plan apply to new (or resubmission) K level (career development) grants?

Yes, it does apply to K awards.

How does the DMS policy affect other data-related policies at NIH?

The DMS policy provides a foundation for which individual institutes, centers, and calls for proposals can develop more specific policies.

In general, the DMS policy is complementary to other data-related policies at NIH. For example, researchers doing work covered by the Genomic Data Sharing Policy do not have to complete parallel GDSPs and DMSPs. Instead, the material previously covered by the GDSP will not be included in the DMSP.

Read More: NIH Institute and Center Data Sharing Policies

How long do I have to store my data?

The University recommends planning to preserve your scientific data in a repository for the length of the grant + 5 years.

Do I need to write broad or unrestricted data sharing into informed consent documentation?

Not necessarily. The DMS policy encourages researchers to plan for how data management and sharing will be reflected in informed consent documents but does not expect that informed consent given by participants will be obtained in any particular way. NIH is currently developing resources to assist in drafting consent language for the sharing of research participants’ data.

What is DMPTool?

DMPTool is a platform for writing effective data management plans, including NIH data management and sharing plans.

Available free of charge, DMPTool includes templates, guidance, and links. Researchers are not required to use DMPTool to create data management and sharing plans, however, the tool is recommended by our DMS Service.

How will noncompliance with NIH DMS Policy be handled?

NIH will monitor compliance with Plans over the course of the funding period during regular reporting intervals (e.g., at the time of annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs)). Noncompliance with Plans may result in the NIH ICO adding special Terms and Conditions of Award or terminating the award. If award recipients are not compliant with Plans at the end of the award, noncompliance may be factored into future funding decisions.

For contracts, noncompliance with the DMS Plan will be handled in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract and applicable Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Do you have any insight as to how we can comply with the DMS policy in the case of a multi-component grant where one of the components offers pilot awards that are funded through the grant?

The DMS Policy expects only one DMS Plan to be submitted with each application and does not expect separate Plans to be developed for individual projects under that application.  Applicants are encouraged to determine whether and how to coordinate responsibilities with respect to Plans with all Program Directors/Principal Investigators and all Key Personnel on the same application.

For a multi-project grant such as a P01, should one DMS be included in the overall component, or should each project have its own DMS?

Additional Instructions for Multi-project: Overall Component Include a single consolidated “Data Management and Sharing Plan” in the Overall Component. Other Components: Do not include a “Data Management and Sharing Plan” within other components. Any component-specific information should be described within the overall “Data Management and Sharing Plan” attachment in the Overall Component."

One DMSP for the entire P01.

Is HDF5 format acceptable?

It’s an open source format, so as long as you provide a pointer to help a research access the data, and metadata to describe the folder organization and each individual file, yes. However, it’s basically a file organization structure for disks, etc. Therefore, not optimal for many systems.

Are there guidelines for the type of metadata to be stored? Thinking about lab-built instruments

The NIH does not offer specific guidelines. The NIH states, "The exact metadata or other associated documentation will vary by scientific area, study design, the type of data collected, and characteristics of the dataset."

I have a free Lab Archive account since 2016 under my URMC email. Do I need to do anything to upgrade my account and get under University of Rochester umbrella/discounts/subscription?

Log into under Sign in through your Institution (Single Sign-On), and select the prompt to merge accounts.