Complying With the HEAL Data Sharing Policy

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The NIH HEAL Initiative has developed a quick and easy checklist to help HEAL-funded investigators comply with the HEAL Public Access and Data Sharing Policy. Investigators should refer to this checklist throughout the processes of planning and conducting of their research:

  • while writing their application
  • generating data
  • preparing to share data and submit publications (which must be made immediately openly available) to journals
  • when sharing data and publishing results

As the HEAL Data Ecosystem works toward automating our processes and continues to develop resources to help investigators complete the items within, details and links will be added.

How to Comply With the Policy

1. Submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan as part of your application for HEAL funding; follow the Plan as part of your award

  • NIH HEAL Initiative applicants, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any budget or project, must submit a data management and sharing plan (as part of their resource sharing plan) that outlines management and sharing of scientific data, accompanying metadata, other relevant data, and associated documentation. Preparation and submission of the data management and sharing plan is a requirement of the HEAL Initiative Public Access and Data Sharing Policy (and also aligns with the new NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, which will go into effect January 2023).
  • Data management and sharing plans should include the proposed repository where HEAL-generated data will be stored long-term. Review the repository selection guide, which contains a recommended repository list, to help identify one that is a good fit for your data. Submission and curation costs may be included in budgets.
  • HEAL Initiative clinical pain research studies are required to collect the core common data elements.  
  • Find guidance for writing a data management and sharing plan in this webinar.

2. Upon award, finalize a data repository selection

  • Review the repository selection guide, which contains a recommended repository list to help identify one that is a good fit for your data.
  • Some repositories require use of specific data dictionaries or structured data elements, so knowing your repository’s requirements up front can help reduce the burden of preparing data for submission.
  • HEAL-funded awardees must follow requirements for selected repositories.

3. Within 1 year of award, register your study with the HEAL Data Platform.

  • This process will connect the HEAL Data Platform to information about your study and data, including metadata, and identify the selected repository. 
  • HEAL expects initial submission within 1 year of award, with annual updates and updates in accordance with any release of study data. 
  • What is metadata and why is it important? View Metadata 101 & 102 webinars.

4. Report data submission when HEAL-generated data are deposited in repositories

  • At the completion of the study and/or when prepared to make the final data deposits in the repository or repositories of choice, ensure your study registration is complete.
  • The NIH HEAL Initiative expects submission of data used in publications to be submitted to repositories at the time of or prior to publication.

5. Report publications

  • In line with the HEAL Public Access and Data Sharing Policy, NIH HEAL Initiative-generated findings must be available publicly upon publication.
  • Award recipients and their collaborators are required to acknowledge NIH HEAL Initiative support by referencing in the acknowledgement sections of any relevant publication:
    “This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH HEAL Initiative (/) under award number [include specific grant/contract/award number; with NIH grant number(s) in this format: R01GM987654].” 
  • Report your research publication to [email protected] within 4 weeks from the date of publication in a journal. HEAL publicizes all HEAL-funded research publications on the HEAL-Funded Research Publications page.

Preparing HEAL-Generated Data for Sharing

Research teams funded by the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative®, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, must make their HEAL data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) in line with the HEAL Data Sharing Policy and the broader efforts across NIH as outlined in the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science.

The Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/RTI International (RENCI/RTI), known as the HEAL Data Stewardship Group (HEAL Stewards), is funded to work with research teams throughout the HEAL Initiative to provide guidance in implementing FAIR data management and sharing practices for the diverse datasets generated by HEAL-funded projects.

The HEAL Stewards website provides guidelines, recommendations, training events, and other relevant information for making HEAL data FAIR and discoverable as part of the HEAL Data Ecosystem.

Visit for more information or connect with the HEAL Stewards for specific questions and guidance. 

You May Also Be Interested In:

About the HEAL Data Ecosystem

The HEAL Data Ecosystem aims to transform research data, findings, and publications into a virtual, annotated, searchable catalog in which datasets and findings from different studies can be analyzed, compared, and combined.

View the webpage

Common Data Elements (CDEs) Program

To facilitate cross-study comparisons and improve the interpretability of findings, clinical pain research grantees collaborate and agree to use common data elements for patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

View the webpage

Public Access and Data Sharing Plan

Through the NIH HEAL Initiative Public Access and Data Sharing Policy (the Policy), NIH seeks to create an infrastructure that addresses the need for researchers, clinicians, and patients to collaborate.

View the webpage