Navigating the NDA Data Submission Process

The Who, What, and How of Data SubmissionValidation and Upload Tool | Submission Exemptions | Data Expected List 

The Who, What, and How of Data Submission

Who should be submitting data and when?

  • Submission deadlines

  • For the upcoming January 15, 2022 deadline

    • NDA Collections in the NIMH Data Archive (NDA) data repository
    • NDA Collection is linked with an NIH-funded granted
    • Data Expected list has an initial submission date set by January 15, 2022 or earlier 

What do I need to have completed in order to start submitting data?

  1. A signed and completed Data Submission Agreement (DSA)

  2. Data Expected list

  3. Permission to submit to your NDA Collection
  4. Global Unique Identifiers (GUIDs)
    • While the Data Expected list is being completed, researchers should start generating Global Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) for their research participants.
    • To request GUID Tool access, please ensure you have at least submission permissions to an active NDA Collection, then email the NDA Help Desk at

What data should be submitted, and does it need to be submitted cumulatively?

  • Any newly collected data is required to be submitted this submission cycle.

  • Clinical and phenotypic data types should be cumulative submissions.

  • Imaging, EEG, Omics data types are non-cumulative.

How do I submit data?

  1. Download the corresponding data structure template from the NDA Data Dictionary 

    • NOTE: This is an important step, if you do not use the template provided by NDA your data will not pass Validation.

      • For those that have aliases within their data structure, please use the custom scope in the Validation Tool in order to submit with aliases.
    • Data structures can also be downloaded via your Data Expected list. 
      • To view your data structure templates, click the information ("i") icon next to the data structure names in your Data Expected list.
  2. Populate the downloaded templates with your collected data
  3. Submit your data via the Validation and Upload Tool either using:
    • HTML web version is best used for cumulative data submissions
    • Python command-line version is best used for large files (e.g. non-cumulative imaging files)
  4. More information can be found in the HTML Validation and Upload Tool tutorial

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Validation and Upload Tool

What should I do if I receive an error when submitting data via the Validation and Upload tool and do not know how to fix it?

  • Users can submit data through the Validation and Upload Tool even if warnings are present.
  • If you receive an error in the HTML Validation and Upload Tool and are unsure of how to move forward, we advise you to scroll down to the bottom and click Request Help while you are already in the tool.
    • That will send the NDA Help Desk more information to help troubleshoot the issue.
    • Please include all the information including the: Error message and NDA Collection number. 
  • If you receive an error in the Python version, please email the NDA Help Desk and include:
    • a screenshot of the error, that shows as much of the screen as possible
    • the NDA Collection ID
    • the data structure(s) you are submitting 

If QA errors were identified from a previous submission cycle, do I still submit data?

  • Please correct the QA errors before doing a new submission!
  • Users cannot submit new data with the resubmissions.
  • Please email the NDA Help Desk at once you've submitted your corrected files along with your NDA Collection ID.

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Submission Exemptions

Submission exemptions notify NDA that data may not be submitted during the upcoming/current submission cycle. 

  • These can be submitted at any time before or during the submission cycle.
  • Submission exemptions can be submitted via the Data Expected tab of your NDA Collection.
    • Users must have submission or admin permissions to submit a submission exemption.

Types of Exemptions

Exemption Type Title Description
Type A No New Data This Period If you have no new data to submit
Type B Deadline Extension If you have data to submit, but it will be submitted after the submission deadline
Type C New Data - Change Phase to Data Analysis You are completely done submitting data for the entire study and will not submit any new data


When Not to Submit a Submission Exemption

  • If you have not yet submitted any data at all and you have not yet collected any data to submit:
    • Please update your initial submission date to the next submission cycle deadline, July 15, 2022.
    • This will let NDA know that you will not submit data this submissions cycle, a submission exemption is not necessary.
    • NOTE: You may need to update your initial share date if the updated submission date is after your original share date.

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Data Expected List

Data Expected is the list of data that NDA expects to receive. 

  • You must have admin permissions to add/edit the Data Expected list.
    • The PI or any user with admin permissions can update/add a user with the appropriate permissions. 

How do I know if a structure template is ready or if the data structure is ready for submission?

  • If you are not requesting any changes to your data structures: you can submit data now!
  • The 'Requested' status in your Data Expected list does not hinder you from submitting data. 
  • To view your data structure templates and see if they are ready for submission, please click the information ("i") icon next to the data structure names in your Data Expected list.
    • If the pop-up says "Structure not yet defined": The data curation team is still working on mapping your data structures and preparing your submission template for that data structure.
    • If the pop-up provides the title and short name of your data structure, your data structure is ready for submission!
      • Click on the short name to visit the data structure's page and download the submission template by clicking "Submission Template" under the Downloads section.
  • If you requested changes to your data structures and have not yet received a submission template: Please email with your NDA Collection ID and the structure name for an update.

Should I submit any data if NDA is still working on data mapping/curation?

  • Yes! You should submit data for the data structures that are mapped to your NDA Collection!
  • Your NDA Collection has a "Research Subject and Pedigree" data structure that is required for each researcher to submit data.
  • Your NDA Collection could also have some Common Data Elements (CDE) that will require data submission by the end of your grant.
    • When your NDA Collection is created, NDA will populate your Data Expected list with the CDE structures that are correct for your NDA Collection.   

When will my data structures be ready for submission?

  • We advise you to complete your Data Expected list one month before the submission cycle begins.
    • November 1st for the January 15 submission deadline
    • May 1st for the July 15 submission deadline
    • Submitting your requests at this time ensures your data structures will be mapped on time for the submission deadline.
  • If requests for new structures or structural changes are made after Nov 1st/May 1st, your data structure(s) will likely be ready for the next submission deadline.
    • Data curators will do their best to get your data structures ready for submission.
    • Be on the lookout for any emails from our data curation team updating you on the status of your data structures!

How do I add existing data structures to Data Expected list?

  1. Research which data structure best matches your data expected by searching the NDA Data Dictionary.
  2. Visit your NDA Collection, and click "New Data Expected" under the Data Expected tab.
  3. Use the "Search by Data structure Title" option
  4. Enter the target enrollment, the initial submission date, initial share date, and then search for the data structure name either by the long or short name.
  5. Then click Add Data Expected.

How do I create new data structures?

  1. Visit the NDA Collection, and click "New Data Expected" under the data expected tab.
  2. Click Upload Definition, enter the information, add the data structure name, and select the data structure file.
  3. Once you do this, a data curator will reach out to the PI regarding the mapping of your data structure and eventually provide the data structure's submission template.

How do I request changes to existing data structures?

  • Email, include the following information in your request:
    • the name of the structure(s) you are requesting to change
    • your desired changes
    • the NDA Collection ID

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If you have further questions, please contact the NDA Help Desk at