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Public Access Policy website

The Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states: 

SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central ( The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

All investigator-initiated applications with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any single year will be expected to address data sharing in their application or state why data sharing is not possible. Instructions related to the data sharing policy as it is applied to applications and proposals responding to a specific Request for Application (RFA) or Request for Proposals (RFP) will be described in the specific solicitation.

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe:

  • the expected schedule for data sharing,
  • the format of the final dataset,
  • the documentation to be provided,
  • whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided,
  • whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement
  • the mode of data sharing

It is expected that the data sharing discussion will be provided primarily in the form of a brief paragraph immediately following the Research Plan Section of the PHS 398 application form, and would not count towards the application page limit. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in Budget and Budget Justification Sections, the Background and Significance Section, or the Human Subjects Section.

For more information about NIH Data Sharing including full policies, data sharing plan examples, and extensive resources, refer to the NIH Data Sharing Policy page.

The University of California and several other major research institutions have partnered to develop the DMPTool, a flexible online application to help researchers generate data management plans. The DMPTool is open-source, freely available, and easily configurable to reflect an institution’s local policies and information. Users can view sample plans, preview funder requirements, and view the latest changes to their plans. For further information about this tool, please contact Shari Laster ( or 893-6073).

The University of California Curation Center provides a data planning checklist with a wealth of useful information related to creating a data management plan. The center is also available to consult with researchers on data management and other digital curation and preservation issues.

The Research Development team can offer guidance on data management plans as they relate to a specific proposal. For more information, scientists and engineers should contact one of our Research Development directors.

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has a Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving: Best Practice Throughout the Data Life Cycle, 4th Edition as well as Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans.