Two New Resources for Writing NIH Data Management & Sharing Plans: Sample Plans and Pitt-Specific Guidance

While investigators have been hard at work preparing grant proposals under the new NIH Data Management & Sharing Policy, the community of librarians and data professionals that support them have been developing tools to simplify the process. Since our last update in April 2023, two new resources have appeared that HSLS Data Services wants to share:

  1. The NIH now provides 13 sample data management and sharing plans for a variety of data types, research domains, and institutes and centers. These samples were produced from real data management and sharing plans and contain details specific to their research projects; they are not meant to be used as templates, only as examples of the types of details and level of specificity that can be included in the plan.
  2. DMPTool, an interactive tool that walks researchers through the process of creating a data management and sharing plan (DMSP), now includes Pitt-specific guidance such as the language for Element 6, “Oversight of Data Management and Sharing,” recommended by the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Research Protections.

A screenshot of the “Write Plan” section in DMPTool, with an arrow pointing to the Pitt-specific guidance for Element 6, “Oversight of Data Management and Sharing.”

When you log into DMPTool using your Pitt email address and create a new plan with the NIH as your primary funding organization, three templates will be listed in the last drop-down menu: NIH-Default DMP, NIH-FDP Pilot Template Alpha, and NIH-FDP Pilot Template Bravo. HSLS Data Services recommends that researchers use the NIH-Default DMP template, since it contains the most extensive guidance customized for the Pitt community.

The plan creation screen in DMPTool, with the template drop-down menu opened to show the three available NIH templates.

The FDP-Alpha and FDP-Bravo templates were created by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP), a cooperative initiative among universities and federal agencies. FDP-Alpha is a streamlined template intended to minimize the need for free-text entry. FDP-Bravo is a more detailed template that organizes information about data types in table form. For more information and to preview each template, see the FDP’s page on its data management and sharing pilot. (Note: As part of the FDP NIH Data Management and Sharing Pilot, anyone using the pilot templates is asked to fill out the DMS Plan Submitter survey.)

No matter what template you choose, you can send your draft to HSLS librarians for comments by using the “Request feedback” link in the plan interface. We may contact you to ask for your application due date and prioritize requests, so please allow sufficient time for us to review and comment on your plan before the deadline.

At the time of this writing, initial results from the first round of applications submitted under the new policy have not yet come in. When they do, we will update the community with what we’ve learned via this newsletter, our NIH Data Management & Sharing Guide, and NIH-specific classes on the HSLS class calendar. Until then, contact Data Services with any questions, and don’t hesitate to send us your plan draft via DMPTool!

~Helenmary Sheridan