As many of you may know, the NIH recently released a new Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy which requires that all NIH funding applications submitted on or after January 25, 2023 must include a data management and sharing plan – and that you comply with the final, approved version of that plan.
Similar data management and sharing mandates will undoubtedly be issued by other federal agencies (and many other research sponsors) in the near future - as signaled, for example, by a new White House Memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, released just last week (Aug 25).
As the White House memo notes, open sharing of research data is essential not only to ensuring ongoing public support for the work we do, but also to ensuring that our work as researchers is of the greatest benefit possible to the people it is intended to serve. The memo cites the example of immediate public access to COVID-19 research data, as a case study of the powerful, positive impact of such data sharing.
The new NIH DMS Policy will have a significant impact on our research community. To start with, all NIH-funded research that generates scientific data - with only a few notable initial exceptions like training grants (T) and fellowships (F) - will be required to include a DMS plan. These plans should be a two-page (or less) description of which data you will preserve or share, how you will accomplish that (listing any tools, software, data standards, repositories, ORCIDs, etc.), and who will be responsible for managing compliance with the plan.
The NIH considers “scientific data” to be any data that validates or replicates research findings, whether or not they are used to support scholarly publication. NIH also stipulates that data should be shared when findings are published or at the end of the award - whichever comes first - and that you “maximize appropriate data sharing” in your plans. The policy also notes that these plans will be reviewed by NIH program staff and that peer reviewers will only consider a proposal if the data management budget is acceptable. To that end, we will provide more guidance/information regarding allowable DMS costs for inclusion in NIH grant applications in the near future.
Open, rapid and public sharing of research data is here to stay - and will ultimately make for better science. Moreover, the data we share can be cited as a scientific work product on our CVs, biosketches, progress reports and bibliographies. To that end, an ORCID can help you track reuse of your data, similar to citations of your publications.
As with any mandate, this isn’t optional. Failure to comply could result in additional terms or conditions on your grant or even termination of a grant – and could impact your ability to obtain future NIH funding.
Colleagues across the University are actively working to put systems in place to help you comply with this policy. For example, Miner Library has created an excellent set of online resources to facilitate compliance with the policy. In addition, a committee convened by Steven Wormsley and Dirk Bohmann recently completed an evaluation of Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) products, with input from a diverse group of users representing the School of Arts & Sciences, Hajim School of Engineering, School of Medicine & Dentistry, Simon Business School, and Central Administration (including users from 35 different departments across the University). The vast majority of these users selected Lab Archives as an ELN product that best met their needs - and URMC Research & Academic IT is now in the process of making this available to our research community.
For many of us, one facet of meeting these new DMS requirements may include depositing data into pre-existing community or NIH-supported data repositories. In other scientific disciplines, similar community repositories are already well-established, and enable researchers to deposit data prior to publication (using community-determined formats and metadata standards), while also providing access to tools developed to work on deposited data (e.g., https://www2.earthref.org/MagIC). We strongly encourage you to take advantage of such resources, where possible.
At the same time, enhanced support for other aspects of DMS is also in the works - including improved data storage resources, enhanced cloud computing infrastructure, and the creation of a data deidentification service for researchers working with datasets that include protected health information (PHI). We’ll share updates on these, as they’re developed and implemented.
Some initial steps that you can do now, before the policy goes into effect on January 25:
To learn more about Data Management and Sharing please visit this guide.
If you have questions, please contact Miner_Information@urmc.rochester.edu.