The best time to formulate a data management and sharing plan is before you start to collect research data. Having a management plan in place before the study begins ensures the data will be organized, well documented, and stored securely during the project and long after it is completed. Waiting until the end of a project often results in lost data, lack of notes, or sometimes a lack of proper permissions to even analyze and publish a particular dataset. In addition, funding agencies increasingly require data management and sharing plans to be included with grant applications to promote open science and improve rigor and reproducibility. Developing a data management plan from the start requires effort, but it will save you valuable time and effort down the road.


NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans

Under the new 2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy, all applicants planning to generate scientific data must prepare a DMS Plan describing how the scientific data will be managed and shared. In preparation for the new NIH DMS policy, the NIH released a new scientific data sharing website in April 2022, providing guidance on how to write a data management and sharing plan. In August 2022, the NIH released an Implementation Details Notice (NOT-OD-22-189) providing a preview of a draft DMS plan format page which will be converted to a final fillable format page by Fall 2022.

Applications subject to NIH’s Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy should also address GDS-specific considerations within the elements of a DMS Plan.

Note that funding opportunities or ICs may have specific expectations (for example: scientific data to share, relevant standards, repository selection). View a list of NIH Institute and Center data sharing policies. Investigators are encouraged to contact program officers with questions about specific ICO requirements.


NIH Genomic Data Sharing Plans

To reduce the burden on applicants and staff, NIH harmonized sharing plans with a single data sharing plan at time of funding application satisfying both the Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy and the DMS Policy (NOT-OD-22-198). Therefore, on or after Jan. 25, 2023, separate GDS Plans WILL NOT be accepted.

Genomic data sharing considerations, such as where and when genomic data will be shared, will be expected to be addressed in DMS Plans using the DMS Plan elements.


DMPTool

DMPTool

While different funders have different requirements around what a plan should look like, the DMPTool, a free web-based tool created and maintained by the California Digital Library (CDL), can help investigators compose a plan that meets the requirements of their specific funder. Sign in through Washington University’s DMPTool affiliation using your WUSTL Key and follow these instructions on how to use the DMPTool to get started.

The DMPTool provides general boilerplate text and guidance based on specific funding-agency requirements in a simple-to-use online template. As of August 2022 the DMPTool has 43 funder-specific templates. That number will continue to grow as more funding agency templates and NIH IC-specific policy components are added to the general NIH-DMSP template. Funder-specific requirements compiled by the DMPTool can be found here and you can also visit our Data Management and Sharing Policies page to learn more. While templates in the DMPTool are based on the requirements listed in the funder’s policy documents, researchers should consult the program officers and policy documents directly for authoritative guidance.

In March 2022, the DMPTool added “featured” public plans to highlight example data management and sharing plans that people can use as a reference when writing their own plan. Instructions for how to use example plans can be found here: “How to Find Example plans in the DMPTool.”

Another advantage of using the DMPTool is that it allows you to request feedback from your institutional DMPTool admins directly within the DMPTool before finalizing your plan. Washington University institutional DMPTool admins are located in Becker Library at the School of Medicine and University Libraries on the Danforth Campus.

You can also register your data management and sharing plan and get a DMP ID to make it a networked or machine actionable DMP (maDMP). The DMP ID will serve as a persistent unique identifier that can be used in your grant application as well as biosketches. The requirements to register your DMP ID include the following:

  • Answered at least 50% of questions
  • Identified your funder
  • Linked your DMPTool account to your ORCID via your Third party applications page
  • Plan is not a mock project for testing, practice, or educational purposes
  • Once the steps above are satisfied, a button to register your plan will appear in a tab in the Create Plan module called “Finalize/Publish”.

To start writing a plan, please follow the detailed instructions on how to use the DMPTool. If you have any further questions or need help, please submit an online consultation request form by selecting the DMPTool.

Washington University researchers are encouraged to submit DMS plans that are part of funded grant submissions to the WUSTL Grants Library sponsored by the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences.  Complete the WUSTL Grants Library Consent Form in order to submit your DMS plan and grant.


Sample DMS Plans

  • NIH Sample DMS Plans
    The following sample Data Management and Sharing Plans (DMSPs) are provided by NIH as examples of how a DMS Plan could be completed in different contexts, conforming to the six elements required in a DMSP according to the 2023 NIH DMS policy (NOT-OD-21-014). 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.

Disclaimer: Some of these NIH sample plans contain language that will not be relevant to all sponsoring institutions.  For example, PIs at WashU are responsible for oversight of data management and sharing and complying with the approved DMSP.  Therefore, Element 6 of the DMSP should describe how the PI, not WashU’s Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS), will monitor and manage the DMSP. Please contact OSRS with any questions.

SampleDescriptionNIH Institute or Center
Sample Plan AClinical and/or MRI data from human research participantsNIMH

Sample Plan B
Genomic data from human research participantsNIMH
Sample Plan CGenomic data from a non-human sourceNIMH
Sample Plan DSecondary data analysisNIMH
Sample Plan EHuman Genomic dataNHGRI
Sample Plan FTechnology developmentNHGRI
Sample Plan GHuman clinical and genomics dataNICHD
Sample Plan HNon-human (zebrafish) dataNICHD
Sample Plan IHuman survey dataNICHD
Note that the sample DMS Plans provided above may reflect additional expectations established by NIH or specific NIH Institutes, Centers, or Offices that go beyond the DMS Policy. Applicants will need to ensure that their Plan reflects any additional, applicable expectations (including from NIH policies and any ICO- or program-specific expectations as stated in the FOA).