The new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy requires a plan for maximizing the sharing of scientific data while acknowledging factors (legal, ethical, or technical) that may affect the extent to which data can be shared.
If you are conducting human subjects research, the informed consent process must make participants aware of how data collected from them will be shared and how data will be de-identified. The consent form should be as explicit as possible in informing research participants about what will happen with their data. NIH provides guidance on creating consent language that allows for future data use.
NIH and Virginia Tech recognize that not all human subjects data can be shared openly, even if de-identified. Sharing de-identified, individual-level data can create risks of identification of research participants if not done properly. As a starting point, consider openly sharing aggregate data only, or data underlying the figures in publications or presentations.
If you are conducting research with American Indian, Alaska Native, or Indigenous populations, you must secure appropriate agreements with tribal authorities before using and sharing that information.
Where do I share my data?
NIH recommends sharing datasets through established data repositories to improve the FAIRness (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable) of the data, but does not dictate a particular repository for data sharing.
NIH supports many data repositories, and your data might or might not be appropriate for an NIH repository. Researchers should also consider data repositories supported by other organizations, both public and private.
University Libraries administers the Virginia Tech Data Repository and associated curation services to assist Virginia Tech researchers in meeting this policy.
For more information, see Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting from NIH-Supported Research.
When do I need to share my data?
NIH requires researchers to share their data when they publish their work or before their performance period ends, whichever comes first.
In general, researchers should make their data accessible as soon as possible. They can also use relevant requirements and expectations such as data repository policies, award record retention requirements, and journal policies to decide when to share your data sets.
How do I prepare my data for sharing?
Regardless of which repository researchers use, the Virginia Tech Data Repository guidance on Preparing Data for Deposit (not specific to this repository) can be useful in preparing their data for sharing.
In sharing data with some access restrictions, researchers should work with the Privacy and Research Data Protection Program to create a data use agreement (DUA).