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Creating an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan

This guide presents information on the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy taking effect on January 25, 2023, requiring Data Management and Sharing Plans (DMSPs) for all NIH-supported research.

Documenting Standards Applied to Research Data

The NIH's guidance for the Standards section of a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP) requires that the standards that will be applied to the project's data and metadata should be described, with a suggested breakdown of areas in which standards can be applied: data formats, data dictionaries, data identifiers, definitions, unique identifiers, and other data documentation. To apply standards in these areas means that a vetted, outside source of standards has been consulted and the standards have been incorporated into the project data work. Standards applying in each of these areas include:

  • Data formats: Describe whether standardized formats have been employed, such as either open-source data file types (e.g., CSV) or loss-less file types (e.g., TIFF).
  • Data Dictionaries: If already covered in the data types section, a description can also be included of whether the dictionary itself follows a standardized format.
  • Data Identifiers: Record whether you plan to assign identifiers to your deposited datasets which follow accepted standards, such as DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers), or another type of permanent URL.
  • Definitions: Provide definitions of any standards used
  • Any additional data documentation: Describe other standards applied such as ORCiD IDs for researchers, controlled vocabularies such as the Medical Subject Headings in data descriptions, etc.
  • No consensus data standards: Please describe if there are no existing consensus data standards that apply to the data in your project.

Recommendations in this section based on: Introduction to the NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan by Lisa Federer / Network of the National Library of Medicine,