As part of NIH, NEI follows the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. For more information on how to manage and share your data, please refer to NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy Overview.
An updated NIH Data Management and Sharing policy went into effect on January 25, 2023.
Where can I share my data?
Where to share your data depends on the type of project you're working on and types of data outputs for your research. Please discuss with your Program Officer to decide on the data repository that best fits your needs.
What data should I plan to share data under the NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy?
Under the DMS Policy, researchers are expected to maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data — which is defined as data commonly accepted in the scientific community as being of sufficient quality to validate and replicate the research findings.
Not all data generated during NIH-supported research will constitute scientific data under the DMS Policy. Specifically, under the DMS Policy, researchers are not expected to share:
- Data, including preliminary analyses, that aren’t of sufficient quality to validate and replicate the research findings
- Informal documents — like laboratory notebooks, drafts of scientific papers, or communications with colleagues
- Completed case report forms
- Peer reviews
- Physical objects — like laboratory specimens
When do I have to share my data?
In general, the goal is to make scientific data accessible as soon as possible. Specifically, the DMS Policy instructs researchers to share scientific data by the earlier of two time points:
Date of an associated publication
Scientific data supporting peer-reviewed journal articles should be made accessible no later than the date on which the article is first made available in print or electronic format.
End of the performance period
Scientific data that support findings not disseminated through peer-reviewed journal articles should be shared by the end of the performance period — unless the grant enters into a no-cost extension. If a no cost extension is permitted, then the recipient should share the data by the end of the extended performance period. These scientific data may support unpublished key findings, developments, and conclusions. Or they may support findings documented within preprints, conference proceedings, or book chapters.
For example, scientific data supporting null and negative findings are important to share even though these key findings aren’t always published. Researchers should be aware that some preprint servers may require the sharing of data upon preprint posting. Repositories storing data may also require public release of data upon preprint posting.
What are some scenarios where I wouldn’t share my data?
NIH expects that researchers will take steps to maximize scientific data sharing but acknowledges that certain factors — like ethical, legal, or technical ones — may require limiting sharing to some extent. Researchers should describe potential limitations in DMS Plans.
As stated by the supplemental information in Elements of an NIH Data Management Sharing Plan, a compelling rationale for limiting scientific data sharing should be provided and will be assessed by NIH. Potential examples of justifiable factors include situations where:
- Informed consent won’t permit or will limit the scope or extent of sharing and future research use
- Existing consent — like for previously collected biospecimens — prohibits sharing or limits the scope or extent of sharing and future research use
- Protective measures like de-identification and Certificates of Confidentiality would be insufficient to protect participants’ privacy and safety — or prevent risk of re-identification or suffering harm
- Explicit federal, state, local, or Tribal law, regulation, or policy prohibits data disclosure
- Existing or anticipated agreements impose restrictions — like ones with third party funders, partners, repositories, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) covered entities, or owners of research materials
- Datasets can’t practically be digitized with reasonable efforts
NIH generally considers data appropriate for sharing even if researchers regard the data as:
- Too small
- Not likely to be widely used
- Not having a suitable repository