This page is for the NIH policy for applications on or after January 25, 2023 . For applications with receipt dates BEFORE that date, see the 2003 policy and resources on the NIH website .

This checklist addresses the 6 required elements on this draft worksheet , and in the NIH DMS Policy .

Links below take you to more guidance and examples from this website and NIH.

1. Data Type

Summarize the scientific data you expect to collect or generate that will be necessary to validate your findings.

  • List or create a table to describe the datasets that will be created or used as part of the study, including:
    • Data type, formats, size, and number of files (estimate quantities as necessary).
    • Which datasets will be shared.
    • The level of aggregation, de-identification, or processing/cleaning that will be done prior to sharing.
    • The source(s) of any secondary data or previously collected data reused in this project.
  • List the metadata and other documentation that will be shared with your data to facilitate interpretation, such as:

2. Related Tools, Software, and/or Code

Identify hardware, software/code or other tools necessary to access or manipulate the shared data.

  • State whether or not specialized software, code/scripts, or hardware are needed.
  • For each tool that is necessary, list:
    • Version number and operating system,
    • How they can be accessed (i.e., open source and freely available, generally available for a fee in the marketplace, or available only from the research team or some other source). For instance, see sharing code.
    • How long they will be available (if known).

3. Standards

List the standards that will be used for sharing the data and metadata. These may range from open file format standards, to standards or commonly accepted practices for the structure and organization of documentation (metadata).

  • Describe and state whether or not there are data standards for your field that are applicable to your project.
    Typical standards include:

    • File formats for preservation and access
    • Standard terminologies, e.g., controlled vocabularies, ontologies
    • Common data elements – CDEs
    • Identifiers (persistent identifiers – PIDs)

4. Data Preservation, Access, and Associated Timelines

Provide details and timelines for sharing and preserving data for long term usability.

  • Name the repository(ies) where data will be archived:
    1. If a particular metadata standard is required, list in the standards section.
    2. A specific NIH repository may be required in the funding opportunity announcement.
  • Specify which type of unique identifier is used by the repository (DOI, handle, ID number, accession number) (Note- an identifier is not required at time of DMS plan submission).
  • Revisit your data list from section 1 and state when the data will be made available (portions of the data may be released at different times). Timelines required by the policy are:
    1. Data will be made available when the work is published or the award/support period ends (whichever comes first)
    2. Data will be made available earlier.
  • State the minimum number of years data will be available, based on repository policies.

5. Access, Distribution, or Reuse Considerations

Describe how sharing will be maximized while respecting restrictions.

  • Describe any considerations that may affect the extent of data sharing:
    • Legal
    • Technical
    • Ethical
  • Rather than refraining from sharing altogether, consider whether data can be shared with access controls or, if there are intellectual property concerns, if an embargo period would suffice.
  • If you have human subjects data, describe how you will protect the privacy, rights, and confidentiality of study participants (de-identification, etc.).

6. Oversight of Data Management and Sharing

Identify who will be responsible for plan compliance and oversight.

  • List names and titles/roles of everyone who will be responsible for monitoring compliance with the data management plan and updating it as needed.
  • State how often compliance with the data management plan will be verified (e.g. every ___ months, on the first of each month, etc.).


This checklist created by the NIH DMSP Guidance for Data Support Services Working Group , with modifications and additional links by UI Research Data Services.