Exploring a Generalist Repository for NIH-funded Data

Incorporating Generalist Repositories into the NIH Data Ecosystem

Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI) will make it easier to find and reuse NIH-funded data

In July 2019, NIH’s Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) conducted a one-year pilot project with the existing generalist repository Figshare, to determine how biomedical researchers may use a generalist repository for sharing and reusing NIH-funded data. This pilot and the subsequent public workshop and landscape analysis demonstrated the need for and utility of generalist repositories to fill these gaps in the biomedical data repository landscape.

GREI was launched in January 2022 to support a more seamless repository ecosystem and ensure that data resulting from NIH research can be stored and shared with the research community.

Image detailing the GREI Vision: Develop collaborative approaches for data management and sharing through inclusion of the generalist repositories in the NIH data ecosystem and better enable search and discovery of NIH funded data in the generalist repositories.
Image detailing the GREI Mission: The primary mission is to establish a common set of cohesive and consistent capabilities, services, metrics, and social infrastructure across various generalist repositories. A secondary mission is to raise generalist awareness and facilitate researchers to adopt FAIR principles to better share and reuse data.

GREI brings together six generalist repositories to work together to make data sharing easier, improve discoverability, increase the reproducibility of research, and encourage secondary use of data.

GREI has several objectives:
GREI Objectives: Implement Best Practices for Data Repositories, Support Discovery of NIH-Funded Data, Adopt Consistent Metadata Models, Facilitate QA/QC, Connect Digital Objects, Catalog Use Cases Supported, Implement Open Metrics, Prepare Training Materials, Conduct Outreach, Commit to Coopetition

GREI currently includes six established generalist repositories that will work together to establish consistent metadata, develop use cases for data sharing, train and educate researchers on FAIR data and the importance of sharing, and more.

ODSS anticipates that this initiative will further enhance the biomedical data ecosystem and help researchers find and share data from NIH-funded studies in generalist repositories.

Current GREI Awardees

Logos and program identity images for NIH, The Dataverse Project, CRYAD, figshare, OSF, Mendeley Data, and Vivli (Center for Global Clinical Research Data).

Figshare Pilot Program

In 2019-2020, the NIH funded a one-year pilot project with the existing generalist repository Figshare to determine how biomedical researchers may use a generalist repository for sharing and reusing NIH-funded data.

Figshare Pilot Outcomes

Four graphs showing figshare pilot outcomes for Users, Top Traffic Sources, Uploaded Items, and Visitors and Page Views from September 2019 through June 2020.

Over the course of the NIH Figshare Pilot, more researchers deposited data in NIH repositories and more publications began linking to generalist repositories. However, researchers needed more guidance on where to publish data and how to describe the datasets in use.

Find a more detailed summary of the NIH Figshare Pilot here.

Community Workshop

In February 2020 ODSS partnered with National Libraries of Medicine (NLM) to co-sponsor a community workshop on the role of generalist repositories. The community workshop led to the creation of a repository services matrix as well as the creation of the concept of “co-opetition” to create ecosystems.

Find a full summary of the workshop here.

Image showing the concept of "co-opetition" to create ecosystems, including unique features ("compete"),  share goals ("cooperate"), and the value line between the two.

ODSS Independent Assessment

ODSS also commissioned an independent assessment on the generalist repository landscape in 2020. The assessment found a clear need for the services provided by generalist repositories, and that repositories and researchers are looking to NIH as a leader in the data sharing space. A lack of recognition and reward for data sharing was also identified.

As a result of the Figshare Pilot program, the joint community workshop, and the independent assessment, ODSS solicited applications for the Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI). GREI will work to meet the 2023 deadline for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, which provides incentives to accelerate cooperation across generalist repositories and include them in the NIH data ecosystem.

GREI brings together six generalist repositories to work together to make data sharing easier, improve discoverability, increase the reproducibility of research, and encourage secondary use of data.

GREI currently includes six established generalist repositories that will work together to establish consistent metadata, develop use cases for data sharing, train and educate researchers on FAIR data and the importance of sharing, and more.

ODSS anticipates that this initiative will further enhance the biomedical data ecosystem and help researchers find and share data from NIH-funded studies in generalist repositories.

This page last reviewed on September 27, 2022