October 29, 2020

Statement on Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing

The extraordinary effort to speed the development of treatments and vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp relief the need for the global science community to share scientific data openly. As the world’s largest funder of biomedical research, NIH is addressing this need with a new NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing. This policy requires researchers to plan prospectively for managing and sharing scientific data generated with NIH funds. This policy also establishes the baseline expectation that data sharing is a fundamental component of the research process, which is in line with NIH’s longstanding commitment to making the research it funds available to the public.

These new requirements were informed through a stepwise policy process and in collaboration with the research community. We first announced our intent in the 2015 Plan for Increasing Access to Scientific Publications and Digital Scientific Data from NIH Funded Scientific Research. Since then, NIH has been working with researchers, institutions, data providers and users, research participants, infrastructure developers, Tribal Nations, and others to develop a policy responsive to the diversity and breadth of the research we fund. With this new policy, we aim to shift the culture of research to make data sharing commonplace and unexceptional. We will continue to seek engagement with the community to support the evolution of a robust data sharing ecosystem. As such, this policy will go into effect in January 2023 to give the grantee community ample time to accommodate these new requirements.

By committing ourselves to responsible data management and sharing, we are catalyzing the scientific process to accelerate revolutionary discoveries and medical breakthroughs. 

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health