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Creating an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan

This guide presents information on the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, which requires submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP) 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,