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Research Data Management — Funder Requirements

Learn about best practices in research data management

Do you Know about Your Funder Requirements?

Is your research funded by the federal government or a private source?  Does your funder require open literature or open data?

Find out at Sherpa Juliet, a searchable database of funders' policies and their requirements on open access, publication, and data archiving:

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Background and summary on federal funder requirements

The 2013 OSTP memo that started it all… 

February 2013: Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House issued a directive that Federal agencies with more than $100 million in Research & Development develop plans make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public. The policy is titled "Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research".

May 2013: President Obama issues Executive Order “Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information”.

From these policies came requirements from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding data sharing and data management plans. Since then, many other federal agencies have begun requiring data sharing and data management plans as part of their grant funded research. 

The information here is intended to help you identify what is required of you from each funder. Always check the grant application and the funding agency information to be sure you have the most current information.

Data Management Requirements

NSF Data Management Plan Requirements - "Proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011, must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan". This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. See PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.j for full policy implementation."

NIH Data Management Plan Requirements - While NSF began requiring data management plans in 2011, the NIH has been slower to move in that direction. 

In February 2015, the NIH released a white paper stating upcoming data management plan requirements, and instituted a working group to determine how to implement those requirements.  

However, in November of 2016 the NIH released a request for information to receive input from the community on the issues of data management, sharing and citation, suggesting that the issues involved in policy implementation had presented greater challenges than anticipated.

It was suggested that data management plans will have to include: 

  • Full descriptions of the data and how it was collected 
  • What software/tools you used to create the data 
  • What protocols/steps you used to create the data 
  • How you will ensure the long term preservation of your data 
  • How you will provide access to your data 

Until there is a definitive policy, best practice would be to plan your research as if this requirement is in place. Not only will this prepare you for the NIH requirements, it's good research practice.


Data Sharing Requirements

Data Sharing Requirements by Federal AgencyThis community resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding both current and future U.S. federal funder research data sharing policies is a joint project of SPARC & Johns Hopkins University Libraries.

NSF Data Sharing Policy “Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing.” 

NIH Data Sharing Policy  In 2003, the NIH released a data sharing policy requiring all grants of $500K per year or more direct to submit a data sharing plan. There are no mechanisms in place to enforce this policy, meaning there are no repercussions for failing to comply with this policy.  Anecdotally, these data sharing plans can often be quite sparse in terms of detail and compliance is spotty.  Unlike the NSF, there are no templates or specific guidance on what needs to go into the data sharing policy or plan. .

NIH Genomic Data Sharing is required and enforced ​for large scale data such as GWAS, SNPs, genome sequence, transcriptomic, metagenomic, epigenomic, and gene expression. They require a Genomic Data Sharing plan, shared no later than date of publication.

Publisher requirements

In addition to the Sherpa Juliet tool above, some major publisher data sharing requirements can be found on this site created by Johns Hopkins University:

Academic Journals Data Sharing Requirements