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NIH Data Sharing Policy

A guide covering NIH policies on data and research sharing

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Overview

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides billions of dollars of funding to academic researchers across the US. UCLA alone is awarded nearly $500 million dollars of NIH funding per year, making it one of the largest research funders on campus. Importantly, funders and publishers have been developing policies in the last decade focused on improving access and transparency to publicly funded research. Compliance to these policies will ensure researchers can continue to receive NIH support. This guide serves to highlight important and relevant policies relevant to NIH supported researchers. It will provide resources on how to comply to these policies and point to best practices in research publishing and reproducibility.

Do you have questions about complying with the NIH Public Access or Data Sharing Policies? Email the Library!

Key NIH Policies

Beginning Jan 2023, NIH grant recipients will be expected to comply to a new Data Management and Sharing policy. Sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, enhances research rigor and reproducibility, provides accessibility to high-value datasets, and promotes data reuse for future research studies.

Key points for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy:

  • Investigators will be required to write a data management and sharing plan (recommended components to include in the plan)
  • Data management and sharing plans are to be submitted with NIH grant applications
  • Researchers are asked to maximize appropriate data sharing (guidelines for selecting data repositories)
  • Compliance is expected and is monitored at regular reporting intervals
  • Data should be available at the time of publication or at the conclusion of the granting period, whichever comes first.

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that published results supported by NIH research are available to the general public. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. The Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

In 2017, the NIH released further guidance indicating the preprints and other interim research products may be cited in NIH grants in order to speed the science communication and reduce paywall barriers to important research. Preprints are complete and public drafts of scientific documents, not yet certified by peer review. There are other citable research products included in this policy, a list of examples is included below.

  • Preprints published on servers like BioRxiv, MedRxiv, Open Science Framework (OSF), and others.
  • Protocols created with permanent identifiers on platforms such as Protocols.io and BioProtocol.
  • Code and software with permanent identifiers created and shared on platforms like Zenodo or OSF.
  • Data publications in data repositories (see our guide on this area)

 

(source NIH)

The Genomic Data Sharing Policy - NIH expects the broad and responsible sharing of human as well as non-human genomic data resulting from NIH-funded research because the timely sharing of research results can accelerate discoveries that improve our ability to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.

To comply with the genomic data sharing policy, NIH expects that investigators and institutions:

  • Develop and provide a plan for sharing genomic data
  • Provide an Institutional Certification form before the notice of award, if working with human data
  • Share genomic data in a timely manner to an appropriate repository
  • Responsibly use controlled-access data
  • Appropriately cite controlled-access data in publications and presentations

(source NIH). 

All NIH-funded clinical trials are expected to register and submit results information to Clinicaltrials.gov, as per the "NIH Policy on Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Information" for competing applications and contract proposals.

Videos and Tutorials

The following videos contain information about the Policy and how to comply.