Model Data Sharing Plan

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This page describes a data sharing plan for a generic project. If you wish to include it in an NIH or other grant application, please create a PhysioNetWorks account for yourself, create a private project on your PhysioNetWorks home page (noting your grant application deadline), and apply for a protected data archive first. Allow at least a week before your grant application is due for our review and reply. If we accept your data archive application, we will send you a supporting letter that you can also include in your grant application. Our letter will indicate that we will provide the services described in this model plan to your project if it is funded.

We routinely approve data archive applications submitted by grant applicants who agree to the terms of the model data sharing plan below, if the projects are in line with PhysioNet's goals, and as space permits.

The research data to be developed by [title of project], under the direction of [name of principal investigator], will be made available to other researchers via PhysioNet (, a resource for research and education that has provided free access via the web to many other research data sets since 1999. PhysioNet is funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) under NIH grant number 2R01GM104987-09.

The research data developed by the project will be deposited initially in a protected data archive established on behalf of the project and maintained by PhysioNet. PhysioNet will provide daily incremental backup of the protected data archive at its primary location and monthly full backup at a second location. Although PhysioNet will assist in recovery of data that may have been unintentionally deleted from the protected data archive, data deleted before (or added after) the most recent full backup are generally not recoverable by PhysioNet. All disks used by PhysioNet for storage (on-line or backup) are encrypted and kept in physically secure locations.

The principal investigator agrees to exercise all reasonable and prudent efforts to avoid storing protected health information (PHI), or any material that the project does not have permission to copy, in the protected data archive or elsewhere on PhysioNet, and to share access to the protected data archive only with colleagues and students who also agree to these conditions. In return, PhysioNet agrees to exercise all reasonable and prudent efforts to maintain the security of the project's protected data archive and to prevent and deter access to the project's protected data archive other than as authorized by the principal investigator.

PhysioNet services are provided using free and open-source software that may be duplicated by the project to create a fully functional copy of its protected data archive on standard PC hardware. If for any reason it becomes necessary to discontinue its services to the project, PhysioNet agrees to provide at least sixty days' notice to the principal investigator to permit the project to construct such a copy. The project will preserve its own copy of all data placed in the protected data archive, to be used in the event of data loss from the protected data archive.

The review date for the research data stored on PhysioNet is estimated to be [month, day, year], or sixty days following the publication of the main findings of the project, whichever is sooner; or any earlier date, at the option of the principal investigator.

On or before the review date, the principal investigator will inform PhysioNet that the data are ready for review. At that time, PhysioNet will conduct a review of the data in accordance with its guidelines for contributors of data (, which at a minimum include statistical sampling tests to determine if PHI is likely to be present in the data. The principal investigator agrees to remove any PHI detected in the review, and to make reasonable efforts to correct any other defects identified in the review. When the data pass the review, PhysioNet will post them in PhysioBank (, the public data archives of PhysioNet, with appropriate credit to the project, the principal investigator, any other contributors to the work, and the funding agency and grant number, if applicable.

Budget for data sharing:

Estimate the cost of preparing and uploading your data to your protected data archive, and of documenting its contents and format. If your data set will be larger than 100 gigabytes, or if you anticipate a large amount of support from PhysioNet will be needed, include the cost of services from PhysioNet, as described below, in your budget. Some representative estimates are shown below; your costs may vary, depending on the size and complexity of your data set.

If you wish to construct a fully functional mirror of your protected data archive, add to your budget the cost of a standard PC with a network connection and sufficient disk storage for your data and an additional 10 gigabytes for software and workspace, and setup time of 1-2 hours. The cost is likely to be less than $1000.

Please note that these estimates are not fees imposed by PhysioNet; they are estimates of what it may cost you to do the necessary work yourself, or to hire a third party to do it. PhysioNet does not provide these services.

Item Cost per subject Total for 500 subjects
De-identification $25 $12,500
Uploading 1 500
Documentation   2000
Total   $15,000

Except as provided below, PhysioNet provides services to support this data sharing plan without cost to the project.

If the project requires more than 100 gigabytes of storage within its protected data archive, PhysioNet will provide additional storage in increments of two terabytes as required and if feasible, at a cost to the project of US$500 per increment for a period of up to 3 years (renewable once).

Support requested by the project, and provided by PhysioNet before the review date, is billed to the project at $100 per hour (1 hour minimum per incident) after the first two hours.

Data Sharing on PhysioNet

Questions and Comments

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Updated Saturday, 14 April 2018 at 13:44 EDT

PhysioNet is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) under NIH grant number 2R01GM104987-09.