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Guide to data management

An overview for researchers on how to collect, manage, organize, and preserve data at all stages of the research process.

NIH Overview

In 2003, the National Institutes of Health instituted its Final Statement on Sharing Research Data, stating, "Data should be made as widely and freely available as possible." This policy required all grant applications more than $500k/year to include a plan for data sharing, or explain why data sharing is not possible. 

The NIH Public Access Policy, implemented in 2009, created PubMed Central, a new public repository in the National Library of Medicine. All NIH researchers are required to submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central within 12 months of its official publication date (as permissible by copyright law). 

The Public Access Policy portal can help you prepare a manuscript, submit it to PubMed Central, and report compliance to NIH. It also maintains a list of peer-reviewed journals that automatically deposit the final published version of NIH-funded articles into PubMed Central within the required 12-month period without author involvement, and instructions on how to report papers that should be excepted from the Public Access Policy. 

For more information about individual journals and their compliance with NIH policies, visit the OAD Publisher policies on NIH-funded authors page, or the SHERPA/RoMEO database of publishers.

Copyright for NIH-Funded Authors

Since NIH-funded authors are required to submit their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central, it is essential that the authors work with the journal to ensure the publishing agreement allows the author to do so. Below are the NIH's recommended points to consider while reviewing publishing contracts: 

  • Which submission method will be used?
  • What version of the paper will be made available on PMC?
  • Who will submit the paper?
  • When will it be submitted? 
  • Who will approve the submission?
  • When will the paper be made public on PMC?

For more information on negotiating copyright agreements, visit the copyright guide