Data Sharing

Resource & Data Sharing Plans Should Be Public In NIH RePORTER

Proposals submitted to the NIH often require a Resource Sharing Plan document, and those proposing more than $500k in annual direct costs often require a Data Sharing Plan. These documents are not made public, making it onerous for investigators to understand what commitments have been made to the NIH as a condition of funding.

 

For a use case, imagine a scenario where the reader of a manuscript identifies a described resource that would further ones own research. The investigator notes that the work was funded by the NIH; however, no resources are shared in a manner that enables re-use. In the current setting, the investigator can:

1) reach out to the corresponding author; however, as has been well-documented these contact email addresses can "rot" quickly;

2) reach out to the journal editor for mediation;

3) submit a FOIA request to the NIH for the Resource Sharing Plan.

 

Of these, somewhat oddly, #3 seems to have the fastest response time. Unfortunately, it imposes a cost on the NIH Institutes' FOIA teams. These documents do not have identifying information or other proprietary information that is removed in response to a FOIA request. It would be simpler and would greatly facilitate the re-use of publicly funded resources and data if sharing commitments were easily obtainable.

 

This is an easy win for the CCDI: making these documents freely available will enhance resource and data reuse, which will be critically important for childhood cancer research for the reasons noted during the symposium (these cancers are individually rare but collectively deadly, individualized models are of critical importance, etc).

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