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NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

This guide includes resources for the new NIH data management and sharing (DMS) policy and DMS Plans. The policy affects all proposals submitted for deadlines on or after January 25, 2023.

Decision tree

For a detailed flowchart with links, download this PDF handout of the repository decision process.

Otherwise, this diagram gives a conceptual overview, and the subsequent lists and links have more information.

This flowchart used with permission from Hofstra/Northwell Health school of medicine library resource guide.

Does a generalist repository fit? Your category 3 sharable data can go in OSF!

Choosing a repository

The DMS Policy provides very specific guidelines on what characteristics make a data repository for the purposes of sharing data from NIH-funded research. The DMS Policy also provides the following set of priorities in selecting a data repository:

Priority 1: If the Institute, Center, Office (ICO) policy and/or the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) identify particular data repositories (or sets of repositories) to be used to preserve and share data, then that repository(ies) takes priority.

Priority 2A: If Priority 1 does not apply, then next: prioritize data repositories that are discipline or data-type specific, particularly the ones listed at

Priority 2B, for if neither of the above fit: If no appropriate discipline or data-type specific repository is available, consider any of the following 3 data sharing options (no priority implied):

2B i: Datasets up to 2 GB in size and related to specific articles may be uploaded as supplementary material to articles submitted to PubMed Central

2B ii: Approved generalist data repositories, and institutional repositories built for digital preservation and archiving

Note: VCU's institutional repository is Scholar's Compass, however, in many cases we recommend using generalist repository OSF instead. OSF is discussed above.

2B iii: Large datasets may benefit from cloud-based data repositories for data access, preservation, and sharing. 

These options are for repositories where data will be shared, either by public download or restricted access mediated by the repository or the PI. If you are interested in FAIR discoverability of data but cannot share the data itself due to ethical, legal, or technical challenges, another option would be sharing metadata and documentation in the VCU data catalog, with guidance on the terms for requesting access or colaboration.

Addressing OSF in Element 4

Are you planning to use OSF as a generalist repository to address data preservation and access? Consider the text below as a starting place for addressing Element 4 using OSF:

4.1 The name of the repository(ies) where scientific data and metadata arising from the project will be archived:

Data and metadata will be made available on OSF, or the Open Science Framework. OSF’s preservation and archiving infrastructure is maintained by the Center for Open Science.

[Note for larger datasets: If your data are likely to exceed the 50 GB storage cap provided by VCU's membership as an OSF institution, consider budgeting for additional storage based on the fees at]

4.2 - How the scientific data will be findable and identifiable, i.e., via a persistent unique identifier or other standard indexing tools.

The data and associated files and documentation will be available by persistent URL until the data is released for open download. After release for general availability, the data and associated files and documentation will also be available by DOI. The persistent URL will also continue to resolve to the data, and both the persistent URL and the DOI will make the data findable by standard internet search.

4.3 - When the scientific data will be made available to other users (i.e., the larger research community, institutions, and/or the broader public) and for how long. 

The data will be released for general visibility and download at the end of [DESCRIBE WHEN YOU WILL CHANGE DATA FROM PRIVATE TO PUBLIC, e.g. at the end of the grant period, 1 year after project end, etc.]. Release will be handled manually by the PI. Until general release, the PI will manually add collaborators and researchers approved for access to the data. The data and associated files and documentation will remain available for a minimum of 50 years after deposit, based on the OSF’s preservation plan.

More NIH guidance on repositories