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NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy (effective 2023) - Figshare's perspective on policy highlights and guidance on data sharing

On October 29, 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released their Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing to be effective beginning January 25, 2023. 

This policy has important implications for researchers who receive support from NIH including from extramural grants, contracts, and intramural research projects. Since 2011, Figshare has supported the mission of research data being publicly accessible and freely available to reuse. We are excited that NIH is taking this next step to encourage the broad sharing of research data and look forward to supporting NIH-funded researchers make their research more discoverable, reusable, and impactful. 

In light of this new policy being released, we realize many researchers and institutions will have questions about how to best adjust the research data management workflows and data sharing practices of their labs and NIH-funded projects. While we are certain more guidance will be forthcoming from the NIH and we cannot speak for how individual institutes and centers at NIH will implement this policy, here we provide highlights of the policy from our perspective at Figshare as a trusted generalist data repository along with guidance on how to incorporate Figshare into your NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans. 


Figshare Resources

Guide to sharing NIH-funded research on figshare.com

How Figshare meets NIH Desirable Characteristics for Data Repositories 

How to write a Data Management Plan (DMP) and include Figshare in your data sharing plans

Best practice for managing your outputs on Figshare


Researchers are always welcome to contact us at info@figshare.com including for additional support sharing NIH-funded research data or other materials. 

Highlights of the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy (effective January 2023) from the Figshare Perspective

  • All NIH-funded research generating scientific data will require a Data Management and Sharing Plan to be submitted and evaluated on an ongoing basis including extramural grants, contracts, and intramural research projects. 
  • Scientific Data includes “factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings”
  • Data must be shared regardless of if it supports a publication or not and should be shared at the time of publication or by the end of the award period, whichever comes first. 
  • While not all data generated during a project must be shared, broad data sharing is encouraged including data supporting replications and null results that may not be published.
  • A single way of sharing data is not prescribed, rather the requirement to develop Data Management and Sharing Plans at the time of proposal submission is intended for researchers to design data sharing workflows and practices best suited to their projects, methodologies, and disciplines.
  • Data should be maintained for as long as it would be expected to be useful to researchers, institutions, or the public.
  • Specific NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) may add additional requirements for data sharing that are appropriate for specific disciplines such as the use of specific data formats, metadata schemas, or repositories. 
  • To make data more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable), Researchers are encouraged to share data in established, trusted repositories that follow community standards for metadata and persistent identifiers and have privacy, security, and preservation plans. If a discipline or method specific repository exists for the data type, that repository should be used to maximize discoverability and reuse. If a discipline-specific repository does not exist, the use of generalist or institutional repositories is encouraged. 
  • Data management and sharing costs are allowable costs that can be included in grant budgets. These can include personnel costs for data management and sharing activities, curation costs, data deposit fees, and long-term data preservation costs. Costs for data storage beyond the period of the grant may be paid but they must be paid during the award period. 


Guidance on how to incorporate Figshare into your NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans

  • Figshare.com is available as a free resource to share any product of research in a way that is discoverable, citable, and trackable. You can publish datasets as well as code, software, images, movies, workflows, resources, presentations, posters, preprints, and more.
  • If a discipline- or method-specific repository does not exist for your research or does not accommodate your data or materials, a generalist repository like Figshare provides the flexibility to share any file type together with documentation.
  • Figshare accepts all file types and previews over 1,000 in the browser. You can add just a single file or thousands of files to an item as well as create collections of related items that support the same paper, project, or grant. We can accommodate single files up to 5TB.
  • If you have large files or are uploading many files at once, Figshare provides an FTP uploader and an open API available for both upload and download of files and metadata.  
  • Figshare.com offers 20GB of private storage and unlimited public item storage for free. Contact us at info@Figshare.com if you need additional storage for NIH-funded research as larger storage and file size limits as well as custom repository functionality are available, sometimes for a fee that can be included in your grant budget.
  • Every item published on Figshare receives a unique DataCite DOI (Digital Object Identifier) as a persistent identifier (PID) and public content cannot be deleted so ensure persistence. The DOI for an item can be reserved in advance and is citable, trackable, and version controlled. This DOI can be used in annual reporting for grants and in biosketches to point to each product of a research project that has been made publicly available. 
  • All public items are discoverable across Figshare, Google, Google Dataset Search or Google Scholar (based on item type), and other databases including Dimensions.ai. Views, downloads, and citations are tracked for each item with citation counts collected from the full text of journal articles and preprints. 
  • Items can be kept private until the supporting paper is published and private sharing links can be given to peer reviewers or editors. 
  • Items can be updated at any time and DOIs will be versioned. 
  • NIH grants and other funding sources can be specified and hard linked to grant information in Dimensions.ai
  • Figshare is a repository used by 500,000 researchers and more than 150 institutions around the world to share the results of their work. Figshare has endorsed the TRUST principles for Digital Repositories, the FAIR principles for open data, is committed to open access, data integrity, and preservation, and is ISO27001 certified. You can include Figshare in your Data Management and Sharing Plan at the time you submit an NIH grant proposal and describe how you will share data and other materials in Figshare.
  • Read how Figshare meets the NIH Desirable Characteristics for Data Repositories and find more information on writing a DMP that includes Figshare in our Guide to writing a Data Management Plan and including Figshare in your data sharing plans. 



Relevant Links to NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, Supplements, and Announcements: 


Related NIH Resources:


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