By Juli Klemm and Elizabeth Hsu
Previous posts on this blog have discussed the importance of making publicly–funded data broadly accessible to support reuse, reproducibility, and discovery, along with the increasing challenges of doing so. Indeed, this is one of the fundamental underpinnings of the NIH BD2K program and several of its initiatives are directly aimed at improving biomedical data sharing.
The challenges associated with biomedical data sharing are multi-faceted. One key challenge relates to the issue of repository sustainability. It is well recognized that in this time of growing data sets and flat budgets, sustaining repositories is straining the capacity of current funding approaches (Read the Nature article). The NIH BD2K Sustainability Working Group (WG) is specifically focused on this issue. The WG is exploring economic, technical, policy, and administrative approaches toward improving the sustainability of biomedical data repositories.
Decisions and policies around support for biomedical data repositories need to be driven by an understanding of their value to and impact on the communities they serve (Read the White Paper). However, there are not widely-accepted methods or criteria to evaluate biomedical data repository value. In recognition of this need, NIH, through the BD2K Sustainability WG, has published a Request for Information (RFI) NOT-OD-16-133 Metrics to Assess Value of Biomedical Data Repositories.
This RFI invites the community to inform NIH about existing and desired approaches for measuring and assessing the value of biomedical data repositories. Both quantitative and qualitative metrics are of interest. We provided several examples in the RFI, which include utilization measures, data quality indicators, service quality indicators, infrastructure, and governance as well as considerations of use cases and case studies demonstrating value.
To ensure that all perspectives and viewpoints are represented, NIH is encouraging a broad diversity of stakeholders to respond to this RFI. We’d like to see diversity represented, not only in the roles of respondents – e.g., researchers, curators, repository managers, publishers – but also in the domains of biomedical science – e.g., basic research, clinical research, social sciences. We’d like you, as the stakeholders, to let us know how you currently approach demonstrating the value of biomedical digital data repositories, so that you can be fully engaged in the process of establishing possible methods or criteria for evaluating them.
Responses are due September 30, 2016. Please forward responses as well as any questions to NIH_Repository_Metrics_RFI@mail.nih.gov.