Federal agency funding guidelines

Obtaining federal funding can often be a challenging endeavor due to disparate and changing requirements, expectations, and policies. On this page, we give an overview of recent and upcoming changes to funding agency policies around open access and data sharing outlined by the 2022 OSTP memorandum and updated NIH DMSP policy as well as offer guidance on finding information for specific funding agencies. Given the ever-shifting landscape of federal funding, a key priority of the UVA Library RDS team is to ensure UVA faculty and research staff have adequate, timely, and reliable support to successfully adapt to these policy updates. We would be happy to discuss how these policies might affect your work; contact us at dmconsult@virginia.edu.

Federal funder updates 

On August 25, 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released new guidelines on public access to the results of federally funded research. This memorandum ("the Nelson memo") updates and builds upon the guidance for federal funding agencies laid out in the 2013 OSTP memo ("the Holdren memo"). The Nelson memo directs federal funding agencies to update their public access policies (or create new public access policies) in accord with current research values, goals, and priorities. The most important upcoming changes to note include:

  1. There will no longer be an optional 12-month embargo period for scholarly publications -- the expectation is that (by default) federally funded research will be made freely available and publicly accessible without delay. 

  1. The policies will also require expeditious public access to the data underlying federally funded research, within the bounds of law, policy, and data use agreements & conditions. 

  1. These policy changes will need to be enacted by all federal funding agencies, not only ones with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures.

The implementation of the Nelson memo will follow a phased approach. The deadlines for agencies to submit their new or updated public access policies to the OSTP and the OMB have already passed. The deadline for agencies to publish full implementation plans for public access policies is December 31, 2024, and the deadline for all public access policies for publications and data to be in effect is December 31, 2025. Please note that some agencies may have their updated policies in effect before this date.

While the response from the research community to the upcoming changes due to the Nelson memo has been broadly positive, these changes constitute a significant shift toward more open research and areas of uncertainty remain, particularly around data sharing. The responsibility for realigning research and data management practices to comply with these new policies has largely been placed on researchers, and expectations will vary by agency and/or directorate and by discipline and data type.

NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released an updated Data Management and Sharing Policy that went into effect on January 25, 2023. This policy requires researchers to plan for managing and sharing research data generated or collected using NIH funds. The NIH has a useful overview page that covers the basics of the policy, including information about Data Management and Sharing Plans (DMSPs). Some other relevant supplemental pages relating to this policy:

NSF Dear Colleague Letter 

The NSF issued a Dear Colleague Letter: Effective Practices for Data, on May 20, 2019. This DCL describes – and encourages – effective practices for managing research data, including the use of persistent identifiers (PIDs) for data and machine–readable data management plans (DMPs).

“Movement towards open science by the research community offers the potential to enhance public benefits of science and engineering research. Open science provides new opportunities for researchers to access research findings and data, which in turn has the potential to advance knowledge in many critical domains. The capacity of science and engineering research to achieve these advances depends on the extent to which researchers are aware of, and use, effective practices for data preparation, curation, and distribution. Through this DCL, NSF encourages researchers to learn about the practices described above, and to implement them in the proposals that they prepare for submission to NSF.”

Finding guidance for specific funding agencies 

DMPTool maintains a list of up-to-date DMP templates in both .docx and .pdf formats on their public template page, along with relevant funder links such as statements and guideline pages. If you are interested in finding guidance for your specific funder, or accessing a DMP template outside of DMPTool itself, we strongly recommend you use (and bookmark) this resource. Some of the more common funder links and templates are included in a table below. 

Please see our guide page on data management planning or contact us to request a consultation for more information and tailored help with meeting funder requirements. Not all funding agencies have available information and templates in DMPTool If you don’t see an agency here or on the DMPTool list, talk to us and we can help identify relevant policies and advise on data management best practices for that agency.

Information and templates for select federal funders


Funding Agency DMP Template Information & Guidelines



For directorate-specific templates, search DMPTool