Federal funding agencies have made it clear that grant proposals must include plans for sharing research data with other scientists. What has not been clear is how and where researchers should store their data, which can range from sensitive personal medical information to enormous troves of satellite imagery. Although data-sharing requirements have been in place for years, universities have been slow to assist principal investigators make that happen. Now if you don’t comply with the new policies, you might be prohibited from receiving additional grant money. Funding can be withheld from researchers who don’t comply. Principal investigators are urged to place their data in existing publicly accessible repositories and the NIH has a list of repositories. The NSF directs researchers to specific repositories.
The "DMP Tool," hosted by the University of California, provides a free, interactive form that walks you through the preparation of a data-management plan for more than a dozen organizations.
Many libraries are playing a role in this effort and researchers should check with reference librarians for help on this. Data storage and preparation can get complicated and it’s useful to have someone to guide you through the process. Federal agencies plan to establish standards for these so-called "metadata."
- Plan for Increasing Access to Scientific Publications and Digital Scientific Data from NIH Funded Scientific Research
- Data Management Plans
- AHRQ Public Access to Federally Funded Research
- Got Data? A Guide to Data Preservation in the Information Age