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December 22, 2023

FAIR Skies Ahead for Biomedical Data Project Looking to Benefit Research Community

Dec. 22, 2023 — The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, along with the GO FAIR Foundation, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Ronin Institute and other partners, will conduct data landscaping work funded by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., on behalf of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). SDSC’s Research Data Services Director Christine Kirkpatrick leads the GO FAIR U.S. Office at SDSC and serves as PI for the new project.

The NIAID Data Landscaping and FAIRification project seeks to benefit biomedical researchers and the broader community to generate and analyze infectious, allergic and immunological data. Using the FAIR Principles as a guide, the project team—offering a broad background to ensure that metadata, a set of data that describes and gives information about other data, for biomedical research is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR)—will provide guidance on approaches to enhance the quality of metadata within NIAID and NIH supported repositories and resources that harbor data and metadata.

Structured trainings and guidance will be offered to support stakeholders, including components from the model pioneered by GO FAIR leveraging established M4M workshops and adopting FAIR Implementation Profiles (FIPs). This work will be underpinned by interviews with stakeholders and an assessment to explore the relationship between FAIR resources and scientific impact. The initial period of the federally funded contract, which runs from Sept. 20, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2024, is valued at $1.3 million.

Highlights of the team’s expertise include co-authoring the FAIR Guiding Principles, facilitating metadata for machines (M4M) workshops, developing the FAIR Implementation Profile approach, and contributing to improvements on data policy and metadata practices and standards.

“Our team is elated to be working with our NIAID project sponsors at the Office of Data Science and Emerging Technologies (ODSET) through Leidos Biomedical Research,” remarked Kirkpatrick, PI of the landscaping project. “NIAID is renowned for its significant data resources and impactful scientific research. Having the chance to apply our collective expertise in research data management in support of the NIAID mission areas of infectious disease, allergy and immunology will be both impactful to the FAIR ecosystem, and meaningful work for our team. Further, I believe this work will become more common in the future as organizations begin to see data as a strategic asset, rather than focus on the cost of storing it.”

The project follows alongside another key project in the Leidos Biomedical Research portfolio, the NIAID Data Ecosystem Discovery Portal, led by The Scripps Research Institute. The project team will work hand in hand with the Scripps team to ensure repository improvements maximize the Discovery Portal’s ability to search across the wide array of data assets produced by NIAID-funded research.

The project team includes co-authors of the 2016 FAIR Principles paper (Barend Mons and Erik Schultes), leaders in research data consortia, scholars in informatics, biomedical research and pioneers in FAIR training, interoperability practices and methodology for assessing scientific impact. Team members are Chris Erdmann, Doug Fils, John Graybeal, Nancy Hoebelheinrich, Kathryn Knight, Natalie Meyers, Bert Meerman, Barbara Magagna, Keith Maull and Matthew Mayernik. These experts are complemented by world-class systems integrators and project managers from SDSC: Alyssa Arce, Julie Christopher and Kevin Coakley.

Source: Christine Kirkpatrick and Julie Christopher, SDSC Research Data Services