Understanding the New Data Sharing Requirements for NIH Grants. And How eLabJournal Can Help.

By Jim St.Pierre 3 min read 22 Feb 2024

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently implemented new data management and sharing (DMS) requirements for grant applicants and recipients. For all researchers seeking or currently funded by NIH grants, a data management and sharing plan must be submitted detailing how they will make their data available to other scientists and the public. 

Ultimately, this change benefits science, scientists, and society as a whole: “Sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, in part, by enabling validation of research results, providing accessibility to high-value datasets, and promoting data reuse for future research studies,” states the NIH on its website. 

However, realising these benefits and implementing a DMS plan may take a lot of work. Some labs lack the infrastructure and data recording practices for effective data management and sharing. To rectify this problem, labs will have to rid themselves of outdated lab recordkeeping practices – such as paper lab notebooks and rudimentary databases that act as black holes (data goes in, never to be seen again) – which are no longer viable solutions. 

Therefore, winning an NIH grant is now tied to modern digital laboratory platforms, which are more effective data management and sharing tools. Labs lagging on digitisation are facing new financial motivations to implement changes. 

Meeting New DMS Requirements with eLabJournal

To facilitate data sharing through digitalisation, researchers can use eLabJournal, a secure, user-friendly, cloud-based lab notebook and data management platform. eLabJournal makes it easy for researchers to enter, store, and share their data with other scientists and the public while ensuring that sensitive information is protected and data privacy laws are complied with.

Here are a few ways researchers can benefit from using eLabJournal and comply with the NIH’s new DMS requirements.

Store data in a secure and accessible manner

eLabJournal has access control options to ensure that only authorised users can view or modify their data. The platform is built on a Roles & Permissions authentication model to ensure data security within the organisation. Customisable password policies, two-factor authentication, IP range restrictions, and VPN tunnelling all support data security from external threats. All of this is obtained through a web browser interface, meaning the security you put in place will not stand in the way of you accessing your data from wherever you happen to be working that day.

Share data with other scientists and the public

The eLabJournal platform has a customisable data-sharing plan that can be included in a grant application. Through the intuitive interface, users can generate simple, customised exports of sample or experimental records. eLabJournal’s open development architecture supports even more powerful data sharing and manipulation through our extensive library of API calls

Ensure compliance with data privacy laws

eLabJournal uses industry-standard security protocols to protect sensitive information, including 21 CFR part 11, GDPR, GxP, and HIPAA compliance. 

Integrate DMS plans into your digital lab platform

eLabJournal can incorporate many add-ons in the eLabMarketplace, enabling customisation and expanded functionality. One of eLabJournal’s add-ons, DMPTool, presents plan summaries within eLabNext, along with a link to download complete plans. This tool enables researchers to maintain compliance and manage DMS plans from the grant drafting process through the post-award period.

Digitalisation, at no extra cost

The new NIH requirements mean you can build the cost of eLabJournal into your grant itself. The NIH has clarified its instructions: Costs associated with a data management plan, including software subscription fees, may be included in the budget for the related project. 

Data Sharing Requirements and Digitalisation go Hand-in-Hand

In conclusion, the new data-sharing requirements for NIH grants represent a significant change in how research is conducted and how data is shared. Using eLabJournal, researchers can easily meet these requirements, promote collaboration, increase transparency, and improve public access to research data. Furthermore, many old excuses preventing labs from enacting data management modernisation are now moot: If you are applying for NIH funding, digitalisation is necessary.

If you want to see how eLabJournal can help your lab effectively manage and share data, schedule a free demo today!

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