NIH Announces Genomic Data Sharing Policy

Today, Dr. Sally Rockey, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the NIH, announced in her blog that the NIH has published the final NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy. This policy requires that researchers proposing research that will result in “large-scale human or non-human genomic data” provide a genomic data sharing plan in their application for NIH funding (unless otherwise explicitly stated in the funding announcement). In my blog entry posted yesterday, I talked about the stepwise moves toward open science being taken by the major funders, and today’s move by the NIH is a large step in the open science movement. But the expected outcome from this new policy differs a bit from yesterday’s discussion. While one motivation of open science is to provide information accessible to lay and professional audiences, there are other considerations, and those seem to be what are providing the impetus for today’s move by NIH. That is, the NIH believes this new policy will support efforts to assess reproducibility of results and spur dialogue in the “research community.” But while there is not the intent of direct access to the data by the lay community, the outcome for everybody is the overarching goal. As Dr. Rockey states, this goal is to “accelerate the rate of discovery, magnify the impact of NIH-supported research, and expedite translation of research results into interventions that improve human health . . . to do what is best for science and the people we serve.”

For more information, read the implementation guidelines, visit the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Web Site, and read “Data use under the NIH GWAS Data Sharing Policy and future directions” by Paltoo et al. (Nature Genetics 46, 934-938 (2014), doi: 10.1038/ng.3062).

More on strategic approaches to the genomic data sharing plan to come here in the Strategic Grantsmanship blog. As always, good luck!

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