Skip to main content

Data Management: Federal Funding Agency Requirements

A guide to assist researchers in data management

White House Mandates

On February 22, 2013, under the direction of President Obama, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum that requires granting agencies to develop a plan to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication. This requirement affects granting agencies with more than $100 million R&D expenditures and includes published articles and data.  The OSTP issued updates on the process on March 24, 2014 and November 13, 2014. 

National Institute of Health- NIH

Since February 26, 2003, the NIH has had a data sharing policy for projects above $500,000. For these grants, a data sharing plan must be included in the application and incorporated as a term and condition of the award. Final Research Data "should be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, and protecting confidential and proprietary data".

In response to the OSTP Memo, the NIH will apply requirements for data management plans to all its researchers, not just those with research awards in excess of $500,000.  Data management plans will (1) express the investigator’s commitment to sharing their data, which will at a minimum consist of the data underlying any publications, and (2) include, as appropriate, descriptions of the data to be produced in the proposed study; any standards to be used for collected data and metadata; mechanisms for providing access to and sharing of the data; provisions for protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights; provisions for reuse and redistribution of the data; milestones and timelines for making the data publicly accessible; and plans for archiving and long-term preservation of the data.

National Science Foundation- NSF

Beginning January 18, 2011, proposals submitted to NSF must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan" (DMP) .  The DMP should describe how the proposal will conform to the NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. Proposals that do not include a DMP will be stopped from submission. This change upheld the existing guidelines advocating open data, "[NSF] expects PIs to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of the work."

 

Be sure to check the guidelines published by the appropriate NSF directorates and/or divisions. These include:

Department of Energy- DOE

On July 24, 2014, the DOE released a Public Access Plan for article and data sharing. As part of this plan, all research proposals selected for funding must include a Data Management Plan (DMP). The DOE's Office of Science implemented this requirement on October 1, 2014.  All other applicable DOE offices and elements will require DMPs by October 1, 2015.

The Office of Science's suggested elements for a DMP are:

  • Data Types and Sources- A brief, high-level description of the data to be generated or used
  • Content and Format- A statement of plans for data and metadata content and format
  • Sharing and Preservation- A description of the plans for data sharing and preservation
  • Protection- A statement of plans to protect confidentiality or personal privacy
  • Rationale- A discussion of the rationale or justification for the proposed data management

See the links below for more information.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Beginning December 31, 2015, all DOT research awardees will be required to develop a Data Management Plan that will identify whether and how they will provide for the long-term preservation of, and access to, Digital Data Sets associated with their research activities. Data Management Plans will:

  • Describe the data that will be gathered in the course of the research project, including whether the data should be preserved for long-term access;
  • Outline the standards and machine-readable formats that will be used in the course of the research project;
  • Discuss the access policies that will apply to the data, so as to protect against the disclosure of identities, confidential business information, national security information, etc. and whether public use files may be generated from the data;
  • Discuss policies for re-use, re-distribution and derivative projects; and
  • Outline plans for archiving and preservation, specifying where research data will be deposited, and specify that data will be deposited at the time of initial publication of any related peer-reviewed journal article.

Data Management Plans must include explicit requirements for depositing machine-readable data in public repositories, where appropriate and available. 

Data management plan requirement, Must also include a section that addresses policies for reuse, redistribution and derivative products. To facilitate attribution, DOT indicates a strong preference for CC-BY or an equivalent license.

Data management plans will include a section that addresses plans for citation, archiving and preservation.

NASA

The NASA Plan for Increasing Access to the Results of Scientiefic Research (Digital Scientific Data and Peer-Reviewed Publications) was released on November 21, 2014. The target date for implementation of this plan is October 2015.

All proposals or project plans submitted to NASA for scientific research funding will be required to include a DMP that describes whether and how data generated by the proposed research will be shared and preserved (including timeframe), or explains why data sharing and/or preservation are not possible or scientifically appropriate. At a minimum, DMPs must describe how data sharing and preservation will enable validation of published results, or how such results could be validated if data are not shared or preserved.

The DMP will address:

  • the types of data to be produced in the course of the project
  • the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content
  • policies for accessing and sharing the data, including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, and other rights or requirements
  • policies and provisions for re‐use, re‐distribution, and the production of derivatives
  • plans for providing access to the data used in any science publication 
  • plans for archiving and preserving of the data, as appropriate, including how long the data will be preserved and accessible

Department of Defense (DOD)

In February 2015, the  Department of Defense released its response to the OSTP memo.  The DOD will require a supplementary Data Management Plan. This requirement will go into effect sometime in the 2015 fiscal year.

The DMP should describe how the proposal will conform to forthcoming DoD policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results and may include:
1. The types of data, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project that are publicly releasable;
2. The standards to be used for data and metadata format and content;
3. Conditions for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
4. Conditions and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the creation of derivative works; and
5. Plans for archiving datasets, or data samples, and other digitally formatted scientific data, and for preservation of access thereto.
6. If, for legitimate reasons, the data cannot be preserved and made available for public access, the plan will include a justification citing such reasons.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS)

On February 27, 2015, the HHS released its response to the OSTP memo. This plan updates policies at the National Institue of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and creates policies for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Agency for Healethcare Reserach and Quality (AHRQ). Each of these four agencies will draft their own implementation plans. HHS divisions with smaller research portfolios were invited to participate in the response. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is also developing a public access plan for their portfolio of funded projects. The policies are expected to go into effect by the end of 2015.

The HHS requires that all researchers develop data management plans. The HHS intends to develop best practices for all DMPs. The HHS also indicated that it will explore the development of a Data Research Commons for disposition of data.

U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

On February 9, 2015, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released its plan for ensuring public access to articles and research data. Any data related to an AHRQ-funded research funded research publication must be made freely available to the public on the day of the article's publication. This policy will go into effect on October 1, 2015.

The AHRQ defines digital scientific data as "the digital recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings including data sets used to support scholarly publications, but does not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens." Digital data also does not include software. 

Data management plans include: descriptions of the data to be produced in the proposed study, any standards to be used for collected data and metadata, mechanisms for providing access to and sharing of the data (including provisions for protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights), provisions for reuse and redistribution, and plans for archiving and long-term preservation of the data, or explaining why long-term preservation and access cannot be justified.

In order to ensure long-term preservation and full access to the public, AHRQ will contract with a commercial repository to accept and manage data submitted by researchers. The commercial repository and AHRQ staff will coordinate with the researcher upon notification of funding, prior to the start of the research project, and throughout its life cycle to ensure the current usability, long-run preservation and access to the data. Data will be made available in a digital format free of charge to the public via the selected commercial repository.

Office of the Assistant Secretary fir preparedness abd response (ASPR)

All ASPR-funded researchers will be required to make the data underlying the conclusions of peer-reviewed scientific research publications freely available in public repositories at the time of initial publication in machine readable formats. the target date for implementation is October 2015.

ASPR will require data management plans that include clear plans for sharing research data. ASPR will also ensure new awards to researchers or institutions are not made unless the researcher has successfully satisfied all terms of completed previous awards from ASPR, including making digital data produced in the course of previous ASPR-funded research freely available in compliance with the relevant data management plans for the previous awards.
 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require a data management plan for all datasets generated with CDC funding starting October 2015.  See Appendix B of the document linked beow for more information regarding data management plan requirements.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Starting October 2015, the FDA will  require that data management plans be developed and followed by researchers. Data management plans will include, but not be limited to, a description of the:
• types of data to be produced or collected in the study;
• metadata that will be used to describe and accompany stored data sets;
• data structuring and formatting that will be used;
• data security measures that will be used and the data that the researcher plans to keep confidential based upon any applicable restrictions on data disclosure,
• applicable requirements, if any, to share the collected research data or make it publicly available; and
• plans for data storage, archiving, public access, and long-term preservation, including a description of the way in which shared digital data will be discoverable, retrievable, and analyzable (if researchers believes that long-term preservation and/or public access to data is not justified or appropriate, they must provide an explanation based upon balancing the relative value of long-term preservation and/or access and the associated cost and administrative burden).

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

NIST will require data management plans starting October 2015. At a minimum, data management plans must contain a summary of activities that generate data, a summary of the data types generated by the identified activities, a plan for storage and preservation of the data, and a plan describing whether and how data generated will be reviewed and made available to the public.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

In January 2016, NOAA will require that all external researchers receiving federal grants and contracts for scientific research and intramural researchers develop data management plans. The DMP should describe how researchers will provide for long-term preservation of, and access to, scientific data in digital formats resulting from federally funded research, or explain why long-term preservation and access cannot be justified.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) response does not mention data management plans. USAID will establish a Development Data Library (DDL) as the Agency’s repository of USAID funded, machine readable data created or collected by the Agency and its implementing partners.  Staff and implementing partners will be required to submit datasets generated with USAID funding to the DDL in machine-readable, non-proprietary formats. This policy will be implemented October 1, 2015.

U.S. Department of Agriculure (USDA)

Starting January 2016, the USDA will require data management plans. These data management plans will, at a minimum, describe how researchers will provide for long-term preservation of, and access to, the digital scientific data created by the proposed study. Alternatively, researchers can explain in their data management plans why long term preservation and access cannot be justified, if applicable.

U.S. Departmnet of Vetern's Affairs (VA)

There is no mention of Data Management Palms. However, VA investigators must make available to the public all peer-reviewed publications reporting the results research through deposit in PubMed Central. this policy was implemented February 2015.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Begriming February 2015, The overall project work plan of every research project must include a data management plan.  This plan describes standards and intended actions for acquiring, processing, analyzing, preserving, publishing/sharing, describing, managing quality, backing up, and securing the data holdings .  The data management plan should be updated during the research phase to reflect the reality of the project activities.

Smithsonian

Starting in October 2015, the Smithsonian will require a data management plan for digital projects.