How FASEB’s New Data Management Initiative Can Help
FASEB’s new DataWorks! initiative gives researchers an easier way to manage and share data generated during routine biological and biomedical research. Endocrine News presents an overview of the new system and what you need to know to maximize your research data for your own benefit, as well as to the benefit of other scientists working in your area of expertise.
Are you trying to wrap your mind around the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Data Management and Sharing Policy? Heard the terms “FAIR data,” “research data management,” or “DMP” and wondered what they meant? FASEB DataWorks! is here to help.
DataWorks! is a program of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a coalition of scientific societies that boasts the Endocrine Society and 26 other organizations representing over 11,000 scientists as members. Designed to help researchers navigate the field of data management and sharing, DataWorks! brings the biological and biomedical research communities together to advance human health through data sharing and reuse.
Endocrine researchers collect a wide array of data types — images, measurements, clinical data, and more. These data are valuable research outputs in their own right, and thoughtful data management practices allow them to be leveraged to answer novel research questions, enhancing the impact of the original research. For example, “New Horizons: the value of UK Biobank to research on endocrine and metabolic disorders,” by Bešević, et al., in the July 2022 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, demonstrates the value of reusing open access data in conducting research on endocrine and metabolic disorders.
Maximizing Research Funding’s Impact
Under the recently implemented NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, new applications for NIH funding require investigators to create, submit, and comply with a data management and sharing plan, describing the data to be collected and how it will be stored and shared. Enabling reuse of data that has already been collected maximizes the impact of research funding and supports research integrity.
Yet data management, sharing, and reuse is about far more than policy compliance — it serves the research team. Data management involves organizing, describing, and storing your data so that it can be usable to you, your colleagues, and other researchers in the long term. If integrated into the research process, data management can save you time; keep your research team organized and working seamlessly; expand the profile, citation, and impact of your research; ensure your data are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable); as well as help you comply with funder or journal data policies. An array of resources exists to support researchers, but it can be hard to know where to start — that’s where FASEB DataWorks! comes in.
DataWorks! links researchers to services and expertise and helps them realize the benefits of these changes through three main components:
DataWorks! Help Desk
DataWorks! Help Desk (https://www.faseb.org/data-management-and-sharing/dataworks-help-desk) provides guidance for the biological and biomedical research community to navigate and adopt data sharing and reuse practices. Consult the Help Desk for tips on how most easily to manage data before, during, and after your research projects, as well as to comply with the NIH policy.
DataWorks! Help Desk can connect the Endocrine Society community with key resources on topics such as:
- Complying with the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. For example, tips on writing a data management plan and domain-specific guidance such as from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
- Managing sensitive, human, or clinical data. For example, Vivli, a global platform for sharing and reusing clinical research data.
- Handling common file formats. For example, the ELIXIR Guide to Bioimaging Data.
- Finding data to reuse in endocrine research. For example, the NIDDK Central Repository — Resources for Research.
“Many researchers are uncertain about how to comply with the new NIH Requirement or how to make their data FAIR,” says Diane Robins, PhD, professor of human genetics and research scientist for Reproductive Sciences Program at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Mich., an Endocrine Society representative on the FASEB board of directors. “FASEB DataWorks!, including its new Help Desk, is a key resource to support our members.” Help Desk features specific resources to serve tailored disciplines such as endocrinology, and FASEB is keen to hear what would be the most valuable to you — email FASEB.
DataWorks! Salon is a conversation space for the research community to exchange ideas and design effective practices for data sharing and reuse. “The Salon provided practical tools and strategies for teams to manage data as part of existing research processes,” says past Salon event attendee and Endocrine Society member, Benson Akingbemi, PhD, DVM, professor of anatomy and developmental biology in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn, Ala., and who also serves on FASEB’s Science Policy Committee. “It also gave attendees a chance to learn from both other researchers and expert presenters.”
Upcoming Salons will cover a range of valuable topics for Endocrine Society members, with a Fundamentals Series (including Office Hours for researchers submitting NIH Data Management and Sharing Plans) and thematic sessions on topics such as bioimaging data. Sign up at: https://www.faseb.org/data-management-and-sharing/dataworks-salons.
DataWorks! Prize recognizes biological and biomedical research teams that integrate data sharing and reuse to advance human health. Their successes provide models for others to learn from and useful practices to adopt.
McNeill is the former DataWorks! program director at FASEB, and has over 20 years of experience in research data management and open science, among research institutions, national associations, and data archives.