NCI Cancer Moonshot Public Access and Data Sharing Policy

Cancer Moonshot

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a Policy, Public Access and Data Sharing, for publications and data in 2016 to allow for sharing of data and knowledge about cancer among researchers, clinicians and patients to improve cancer outcomes. The Policy applies to applications, projects and publications on or after October 1, 2017. Per NCI, applicants may include anticipated charges for publication or data sharing and resources that may be needed to support a proposed Public Access and Data Sharing Plan in the budget plan of their application/proposal. 


  • Underlying Primary Data for publications, defined as the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to document and support research findings in publications, should be made broadly available through an appropriate data repository such as the Genomic Data Commons, dbGaP, TCIA or a non-NIH repository that conforms with the principles articulated in the Policy. 
  • To the extent feasible, Underlying Primary Data should be shared simultaneously with the Publication and made immediately accessible through release under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license, or otherwise dedicated to the public domain (e.g., Creative Commons public domain tool, CC0). 
  • If the research involves human participants, as defined by 45 C.F.R. 46, data should be shared in a manner that protects and maintains the privacy and confidentiality of participant data in accordance with 45 C.F.R. 46 and other applicable laws and regulations.
    • Data should be de-identified in accordance with the standards set forth in the HHS Regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects to ensure that the identities of research subjects cannot be readily ascertained with the data. Underlying Primary Data should also be stripped of identifiers according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. 
    • Informed consent materials should be assessed by Institutional Review Boards to determine whether Underlying Primary Data may be shared as indicated in this Policy. 

If you need assistance with a data sharing plan or sharing data in a repository that conforms to this Policy, please contact Chris Sorensen.  


NCI-funded authors may need to select an Open Access option for a publication to allow for immediate full-text availability of the text. Some publishers offer authors options to comply with the NCI Moonshot Policy, such as AACR, Elsevier and others. These publishers offer the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license, allow for full-text access immediately and will deposit the work to PubMed Central (PMC) on behalf of authors. There is usually an article processing charge (APC) to publish under an Open Access license such as the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.  

Washington University’s license with Elsevier allows for a 25% discount on article processing charges (APCs) for Open Access articles published in most Elsevier journals. The discount applies to corresponding authors from Washington University in St. Louis. Eligible titles include over 2,000 Elsevier-owned journals, with the exception of Cell Press, The Lancet and certain society titles. Please check the Washington University in St. Louis Journal Finder List to confirm eligible titles published by Elsevier.  

The University also has licenses with other publishers and select journals that offer reduced APCs for subscribing institutions. See the list on the Discounts on Article Processing Charges (APCs) page for other publishers. 

Other journals such as those published by professional societies may also offer reduced APCs for authors who are members of the society. Authors are encouraged to check with journals before submitting a manuscript for publication. 


If you need assistance with publications that conform to this Policy, please contact Cathy Sarli or Amy Suiter


Frisby T, Contreras J. The National Cancer Institute Cancer Moonshot Public Access and Data Sharing Policy—Initial assessment and implications. Data & Policy, 2020. 2, E9. doi:10.1017/dap.2020.9.  

Jaffee EM, Dang CV, Agus DB, et al. Future cancer research priorities in the USA: a Lancet Oncology Commission. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Nov;18(11):e653-e706. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30698-8. Epub 2017 Oct 31. PMID: 29208398; PMCID: PMC6178838.