Washington Update

FASEB Comments on Updated NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science

By: Yvette Seger
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
On March 15, FASEB responded to a Request for Information seeking input on proposed updates to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan for Data Science, 2023—2028. This updated plan reflects progress made toward the goals of the agency’s inaugural plan issued in 2018— including implementation of a new data management and sharing policy. FASEB’s comments focused on two goal areas within the updated plan: Goal 1, Improve Capabilities to Sustain the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, and Goal 5, Strengthen a Broad Community in Data Science.

For Goal 1, FASEB highlighted the need for resources to ensure uniform understanding and enforcement of the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy that went into effect in January 2023. FASEB’s comments noted the need for support, including financial, infrastructure, and acknowledgement, to foster the culture change needed for effective data management and sharing among NIH-funded researchers. To help fill these gaps, FASEB recommended the issuance of Notices of Funding Opportunities to support workshops or related convenings to facilitate the establishment of metadata standards broadly applicable to NIH-funded research as well as those for more specific research domains.

Similarly, while supportive of the intent of Goal 5, FASEB expressed concern that the outlined strategies for fostering data science skills across the research community would be seen as an unfunded mandate to existing training programs or lacking the financial backing necessary to promote culture change. FASEB reiterated the need for designated Notices of Funding Opportunities to ensure availability of appropriate resources. 

FASEB’s comments also highlighted how DataWorks!—an initiative to support data sharing and reuse within the biological and biomedical research community—has and can continue to support NIH’s strategic vision for data science.