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Data Archiving

NIJ requires grant recipients to archive each data set resulting in whole or in part from their funded research. Data archiving allows NIJ to ensure the preservation, availability, and transparency of data collected through its grant funded research projects. It supports the discovery, reuse, reproduction, replication, and extension of funded studies by other scientists.

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Data Archiving Plan

NIJ requires grant applicants to submit a Data Archiving Plan with their application that describes how study data will be documented, managed, and prepared for archiving, and where the data will be archived at project completion. Approval of an acceptable plan is required before grant funds will be released, and verification of the plan’s implementation is necessary for grant closeout. The plan should not exceed two pages in length. The plan should describe the:

  • Types of data expected to be produced, including any associated metadata and data standards to be used.
  • Proposed management of data during the project, including data security and integrity.
  • Plans to prepare all files and documentation necessary for others to use for secondary analysis and/or to review and reproduce the project’s findings after the project’s completion.
  • Location where pertinent data files and documentation will be archived.

All plans must be consistent with OJP confidentiality and privacy requirements of 34 U.S.C. § 10231(a) and 28 CFR Part 22. See Confidentiality and Privacy Protections.

NIJ’s principal data repository is the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). If NACJD is not the appropriate repository for the original data set(s), the Data Archiving Plan should include submission of study-level information (project abstract and link to data location) by the grantee to NACJD in addition to the elements listed above. See Data Archiving at Project Completion below for additional guidance.

Data Archiving at Project Completion

At the end of the award period, grant recipients must archive data according to the Data Archiving Plan approved by NIJ, and consistent with the approved Privacy Certificate and any other approved human subject protections documentation. Unless otherwise specified in writing by the NIJ grant manager, as authorized by the appropriate NIJ authority, data submission is required for all research, development, and evaluation awards, and the requirement may not be unilaterally modified or waived. Please see the grant award conditions for further information.

NACJD primarily hosts social and behavioral science data in plain text and statistical software file formats (e.g., SPSS, SAS, Stata). NIJ recognizes that data from the natural sciences and engineering may not be appropriate in file type or field of study for archiving at NACJD. To fulfill their data archiving requirement and maximize the visibility of this data to the relevant communities, NIJ encourages these researchers to archive their data at a repository appropriate to their field of study. See Alternate Data Repositories for a list of relevant resources.

Regardless of the primary data repository used, all NIJ-funded projects must provide study-level information to NACJD, which includes a project abstract and link to the publicly accessible data location, ideally with a DOI or other persistent link. A form to submit this information for forensic science projects can be found on the NACJD website.

Data Submission at NACJD

NIJ and other OJP program offices have partnered with NACJD to process, archive, and disseminate a diverse set of criminal and juvenile justice data sets. NACJD is part of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, which maintains an extensive archive of data to support research and knowledge building in the social and behavioral sciences. NIJ grant recipients with an approved Data Archiving Plan that specifies NACJD as the appropriate data repository should review the steps and related materials below:

Data Deposit

Grant recipients are strongly encouraged to submit data sets 90 days or earlier prior to the end of the award project period. NIJ may require grant recipients to modify data sets after initial submission to meet the specifications outlined in the grant program solicitation, according to archiving instructions, or due to concerns with data quality. Grant recipients are required to sufficiently address requests for modification in a timely manner, and therefore grantees should leave time within the grant award project period to make these adjustments.

Data deposits at NACJD must include:

Once the data has been submitted for archiving, the data is embargoed to allow for data curation, preservation, and archiving. 

Data Review

Data specialists at NACJD review submitted data and documentation and provide a Deposit Review Report to the NIJ grant manager and the NACJD program manager.

Data Revision

If the data as initially submitted require further revision, the grant manager contacts the grantee with specific issues that the grantee, NACJD data specialist, and grant manager work to address. The data or related materials are then resubmitted.

Data Archiving

Once approved by the NIJ grant manager, data sets are processed for inclusion in the archive and made available at an appropriate level of protection.

See the Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving: Best Practice Throughout the Data Life Cycle.

Alternate Data Repositories

NIJ is a leading federal funder of forensic science research and development, which includes the application of fields as diverse as chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, and engineering to matters of law. Much data in the natural sciences and engineering are out of scope for NACJD. NIJ encourages that data of this nature be archived at a repository appropriate to the field of study, and that a DOI or another persistent link is assigned.

Data management and archiving for all NIJ-funded projects must be consistent with OJP confidentiality and privacy requirements of 34 U.S.C. § 10231(a) and 28 CFR Part 22. See Confidentiality and Privacy Protections.

Regardless of the primary data repository used, all NIJ-funded projects must provide study-level information to NACJD, which includes a project abstract and link to the publicly accessible data location. A form to submit this information for forensic science projects can be found on the NACJD website.

Below are some resources that may be useful in identifying an appropriate data repository for archiving. Inclusion of a resource in the list below does not imply endorsement by NIJ. All Data Archiving Plans and the identified repository therein must be approved by NIJ.

Guidance:

Examples:

Date Published: April 19, 2022