NIH Coordination and Management

The NIH Policy for the Management of and Access to Scientific Collections

This policy (Manual Chapter 1189[RS([1] ), effective October 1, 2017 outlines requirements for the management of and access to certain scientific collections under NIH stewardship, whose long-term preservation is important to the scientific endeavor.  It was developed in response to a memorandum issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on March 20, 2014, mandating that Federal agencies develop individualized policies. 

Scientific collections are broadly defined in the Memo as “a set of physical objects, living or inanimate, and their supporting records and documentation.”  The specific scientific collections that the Memo identifies as subject to the agency policies are those that “serve as long-term research assets preserved, cataloged, and managed by or supported by Federal agencies for research, resource management, education, and other purposes”, and are referred to as institutional scientific collections in the NIH policy.  Examples of institutional scientific collections from other federal agencies include:

  • Moon rocks (NASA)
  • Insect collections (Natural History Museum)
  • Rock cores (USGS Core Research Survey)

Companion Guide

The NIH Office of Science Policy developed a Companion Guide to assist NIH staff when implementing the policy (available via PDF).

Contact Information

General Inquiries

For general inquiries regarding the NIH Policy, please contact:

NIH Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director
Rockledge 1, Suite 750
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817
Phone: (301) 496-9838
Fax: (301) 496-9839


Collection Coordinators


Collection Coordinators will be identified once the policy becomes effective.

Additional Resources