Data Archiving Plans for NIJ Funding Applicants

In most instances, NIJ requires data sets resulting from funded research to be archived with the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). [1]  Data sets must be submitted 90 days before the end of the project period. In your application for NIJ research grants, you must include a brief (one- or two-page) data archiving plan. The purposes of the plan are (1) to demonstrate your recognition that data sets resulting from your research must be submitted as grant products for archiving and have budgeted accordingly, and (2) to describe how the data will be prepared and documented to allow reproduction of the project’s findings as well as future research that can extend the scientific value of the original project (see the Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving: Best Practice Throughout the Data Life Cycle, pdf 45 pages). Some amount of grant award funds is typically withheld for submission of research data along with the final report and other products/deliverables.

This data archiving plan must briefly describe the:

  • Anticipated manipulations of original, intermediate and final data sets (as applicable)
  • Methods of documentation of such manipulations
  • Preparation of the submission for archiving 

The plan should be submitted as an appendix to the funding application and labeled "Data Archiving Plan." The number of pages used for the plan does not count against the narrative page limit. It should include a brief description of the proposed data management and archiving process, including confidentiality protections and level of effort associated with meeting archiving requirements. It also should address submission of qualitative, quantitative and geospatial data, final research reports, instrumentation and data collection forms, and the privacy certificate and informed consent protocols, including protections for confidentiality (where applicable). Associated tasks should be reflected in the proposed project budget and budget narrative sections of the application.

Specifically, the data archiving plan should include:

  • Information regarding data formats (quantitative/qualitative/spatial) and software with which data will be collected, entered into a database, stored, analyzed and transferred. Standard commercial software or software typically acceptable to NACJD should be identified for use in the proposed data collection. Read more about depositing data in NACJD class="external_link".
  • A description of procedures by which you plan to collect data along with anticipated units of analysis (e.g., individuals, locations), levels of analysis and other identifiers for each data file submitted upon completion of the funded research; or a description of planned use of existing data, if applicable. 
  • If the proposed research includes collection of information identifiable to private persons:
    • A description of all assurances of confidentiality made to those persons
    • A copy of the consent form that was used
    • A copy of the Privacy Certificate (as submitted to and approved by the funding agency)
    • Documentation of IRB approval and the IRB-approved research protocol
    • Any information transfer agreement that was used to transfer the data with identifiers
  • A description of any intellectual property rights or copyrights associated with the data, data collection instruments or materials.
  • Any anticipated variable creation, data transformations or scale construction that may be critical to the interpretation or analysis of the data by others.
  • A plan for submission of computer programming code or software syntax providing detail on how the data will be processed, including any significant treatments of the data, such as de-identification, imputation, filtering or weighting.
  • A description of the technical documentation (e.g., data dictionary or codebook) that explains how variables will be designated and labeled in the data file(s), such as the use of variable naming conventions and variable groups, missing data/value designations, variable and category/value labels, operational definitions, and citations as needed for these variables.
  • Contact information for the principal investigator that other researchers can use if they need more information about the study or the data.


[note 1] There are limited exceptions to this policy. See the specific requirements as detailed in each solicitation and the funding documentation for every award.

Date Modified: July 24, 2014