The National Institutes of Health is developing a policy for sharing and managing data produced by NIH-funded research. Using the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable or FAIR principles developed by Mark D. Wilkinson and colleagues, the NIH will increase access to scientific data produced from NIH funding and potentially improve the agency’s return on investment by facilitating its translation towards new studies, technologies and cures for diseases.
The agency has asked the research community for input on the definition of scientific data, requirements for data management and sharing plans, and the optimal timing for the release of a new data management and sharing policy. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Affairs Advisory Committee submitted a formal response with input from the ASBMB Publications Committee.
In its response, the PAAC defined scientific data as refined observations and analyses used to support published conclusions.
The PAAC expressed concern for the lack of uniformity in data formats between disciplines funded by the NIH. While disciplines such as genomics and structural biology have developed standard practices, the PAAC suggested that the NIH organize taskforces within other disciplines to ensure uniformity in data sharing.
The PAAC also encouraged the NIH to continue supporting the use of publicly accessible data repositories and urged the agency to defer to the data sharing policies of peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, the PAAC recommends that any new data sharing requirements be phased in over a four-year period with reasonable extensions to allow disciplines to reach consensus on data requirements.
As the NIH moves closer to releasing a draft data management and sharing policy, we will continue to provide input on aspects affecting our membership.
For the full ASBMB PAAC response submitted to the NIH, click here.