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The Post Pilot of Data Management and Sharing Plan Templates (NIH)

Pilot of Data Management and Sharing Plan Templates (NIH)

Note: This is a reposted article from Mike Lauer at the National Institutes of Health.

The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) is an association of federal agencies, research policy organizations and academic research institutions with the mission of streamlining the administration of federally sponsored research and create resources that are available to the research enterprise. We have worked closely with them over the years on various activities, including efforts to implement our Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy that went into effect in January. Since March, we have engaged with FDP to pilot test two DMS plan templates. These templates were developed in close collaboration with staff and leadership from offices across NIH, and we seek your input on them. 

The feedback obtained in this phase will inform possible revisions to the current NIH DMS Plan format page. Our aim is to encourage greater consistency in DMS Plan requirements across NIH Institutes and Centers and mitigate the administrative burden associated with DMS Plan development and implementation for researchers. While the pilot was initially planned to last at least two years, we anticipate that it may continue beyond that, as we continue to learn more as the community and NIH gain more experience with the DMS policy. The policy requires a DMS Plan for all NIH-funded research.

The templates being piloted, available on the FDP website, include: 

  • Option 1 (Alpha version): a prescriptive template designed to limit the need for free text entry. 
  • Option 2 (Bravo version): a template that aims to provide detailed prompts as well as more options to include free text responses as necessary. 
  • Please note that applicants can also use the NIH DMS Plan format page. 

We are eager to learn about researchers’ experience and needs with developing and writing DMS Plans. These templates being piloted have been designed in consultation with NIH program staff to ensure all the information needed to review and approve the DMS Plan is easily and clearly provided, to reduce the need for revisions. The formats we are testing also aim to reduce the time needed to develop new DMS Plans and reduce the amount of free text to be entered by researchers. 

We encourage researchers use the FDP alpha and bravo versions when preparing DMS plans, and submit the FDP survey providing us with feedback on your experience with the templates. The goal is to gain an understanding of what works best for researchers and to streamline the user experience once the first phase of the pilot is complete. Your input will provide us with valuable perspective and will inform NIH’s development of a single DMS Plan template suitable for the entire extramural community. Your participation will also provide you with a seat at the table with NIH colleagues as we refine the NIH DMS Plan template. 

FDP is also holding regular round table and town hall sessions to allow pilot participants to share their feedback directly with NIH staff. NIH Program Officials that are participating in the pilot will be sharing their preliminary observations on the first rounds of DMS plans submitted to NIH. There will also be additional information shared on the kickoff of the second phase of the Pilot which will focus on cost principles and budgeting issues related to data sharing.