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NIH Data Management & Sharing Plan (DMSP)

Sharing Options

When working with sensitive data and information, work with the IRB  to ensure data can be shared responsibly. 

Primary consideration should be given to data repositories that are discipline or data-type specific to support effective data discovery and reuse. NIH makes a list of such data repositories available.

If no appropriate discipline or data-type specific repository is available, researchers should consider a variety of other potentially suitable data sharing options:

  1. Small datasets (up to 2 GB in size) may be included as supplementary material to accompany articles submitted to PubMed Central.
  2. Data repositories, including generalist repositories or institutional repositories [MCW does not currently have an institutional repository], that make data available to the larger research community, institutions, or the broader public.
  3. Large datasets may benefit from cloud-based data repositories for data access, preservation, and sharing.

Subject Specific Repositories 

NIH-supported Scientific Data Repositories

If you are applying for an NIH grant, be sure to check out the Repositories for Sharing Scientific Data page. It has a searchable list of NIH-supported repositories and information about generalist repositories.

Free General Repositories

Open Science Framework

The Open Science Framework, or OSF, is a free, open platform to support your research and enable collaboration. OSF can serve as a repository as well as a collaboration space where files can be given restricted access. OSF is a good resources for keeping your different project files together as well as allow you to share your data publicly.


Zenodo is a general-purpose open-access repository developed under the European OpenAIRE program and operated by CERN. It allows researchers to deposit data sets, research software, reports, and any other research related digital artifacts. 


FigShare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.

Harvard Dataverse

Harvard Dataverse is a free data repository open to all researchers from any discipline, both inside and outside of the Harvard community, where you can share, archive, cite, access, and explore research data.


The Dryad Digital Repository is a curated resource that makes research data discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. Dryad provides a general-purpose home for a wide diversity of data types for any discipline. Data in Dryad is free to use, but there is a fee for submitting datasets. Read more about fees here. Dryad is most commonly used for data associated with published articles but they will take datasets even if they aren't related to a journal article.  

There are many repositories where you could submit your data. One way to find an appropriate repository is to search the Registry of Research Data Repositories (Re3Data). This site is not very user friendly, so please ask us if you'd like someone to go through the list with you. You may also want to check out the Wellcome Trust's suggested data hosting sites. Keep in mind this UK-based guidance and not all of it may apply.

See also DataVerse's Comparative Review of Various Data Repositories

Repository Selection Flowchart

Use this Repository Selection Flowchart for MCW Researchers as you decide where you will share your data.


Grateful acknowledgement to the University of Pennsylvania Penn Libraries for their permission to use and modify their template: NIH Data Management & Sharing Plan (DMSP) 

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