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FASEB, ABRF Preparing for NIH Data Management, Sharing Plan

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Two professional societies are working to help researchers and core labs prepare for a data management and sharing policy that is to take effect in the US in less than a year.

Beginning in January 2023, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health will be required to submit a data management and sharing plan. Both the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Association of Biomolecular Resources Facilities are working to ease challenges to their adoption. FASEB has launched an initiative called DataWorks to help researchers meet this requirement, while an ABRF working group plans to develop templates for core laboratories to provide to their users while also developing best practices for data-sharing policies.

"The highlights [of the new data policy] are sustainable infrastructure to foster standardization, discovery, reuse, and preservation, and, as a core manager, I know a lot of my colleagues in the room here are very invested in not only presenting real high-quality data, but maintaining them in their proper databases," Patricia Morris, the president of FASEB, said during a Tuesday session at the annual meeting of ABRF, which is a member organization of FASEB.

The soon-to-be-in-effect NIH data management and sharing policy was announced in October 2020 with the goal of accelerating biomedical research. It requires researchers seeking NIH funding to detail how data generated by the study would be managed as well as which data and linked metadata would be shared, while also considering any limits on that ability, such as laws or regulations governing the sharing of human data.

The policy encourages researchers to share their data as soon as possible and encourages the use of established data repositories.

The current NIH data-sharing policy, meanwhile, dates back to 2003 and only requires such plans of large studies.

FASEB has launched DataWorks to support data-sharing, data reuse, and compliance, as well as to foster a change to data-sharing culture, Morris said. The $1.5 million initiative has four components: salon, prize, community, and help.

Salon, which has already launched, is a "conversational space," she said, where researchers can exchange ideas, discuss issues that concern them, and help each other develop effective practices for data sharing and reuse. Previous salons, which are held virtually, examined how to make data sharing worthwhile and discussed what data reuse is, and upcoming ones are to delve into what is meant by data sharing and how to develop a data management plan.

The prize, meanwhile, is to serve as an incentive for researchers who incorporate data-sharing and data-reuse plans to advance health. Researchers who enter the DMP challenge could win a $1,000 prize.

The community plank of the initiative is to launch in the fall of 2022, according to Morris, and is to help establish mentor-peer relationships and to improve data-management and sharing skills. Additionally, the help desk part of the program is to launch in early 2023 to provide guidance and best practices on navigating and adopting data-sharing plans.

At the same time, the data working group of the ABRF plans to examine NIH data-sharing plans and to develop templates that cores can, in turn, provide to researchers to use in their grant applications.

The working group is also looking into how data flows across organizations and into how metadata is managed.