Washington Update

Promoting Data Sharing and Reuse: Announcing FASEB’s New DataWorks! Initiative

By: Yvette Seger
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Data are a fundamental component of the research process.  While biological and biomedical research articles share knowledge derived from data, dataset citation practices are in the very early stages.  Similarly, research proposals describe data collection and analysis protocols, but data management and sharing practices are often not well integrated into the research process.

Over the last 20 years, there has been a growing interest in the benefits of sharing research data to enhance research transparency, support rigor and reproducibility, and promote innovation. Data sharing has been driven, fostered, and at times hindered by technology, infrastructure, policies, and practices. The NIH Data Management and Sharing policy recently put a timeline on practice adoption by the biomedical research community.  

Over the last year, FASEB has been working with its community—researchers, policymakers, librarians, society leaders, and research administrators—to understand whether and how FASEB can support data management and sharing. We have learned that FASEB is uniquely positioned to participate in fostering a culture of data reuse, as a respected community advocate, convener, and coalition builder with 30 member societies that have a strong interest in data reuse.  

Based on community input, we have developed a new program area focused on data reuse and are pleased to announce the launch of FASEB DataWorks! Aligned with FASEB’s research ethos and policy and advocacy strengths, FASEB DataWorks! is an intentionally open and collaborative approach to promoting culture change in the biological and biomedical sciences through conversation spaces, training, peer support, and prizes. Our goal is to transform the way research is performed and recognized. 

As a recent entrant in the data sharing and reuse ecosystem, FASEB recognizes and applauds the organizations and initiatives that are already delivering excellent resources. Partnership is a core component of FASEB DataWorks! We seek to heighten awareness of these extant and emerging resources among researchers in the biological and biomedical community, as well as build bridges and augment resources as needed.

The new workspace consists of four program areas, initially supported by a $1.5 million investment by the FASEB Board. To support culture change over a decade or more, we are paying close attention to sustainability and employing a combination of self-funding, grants, partnerships, sponsorships, dedicated staff, and services. We are currently recruiting a Community Manager and plan to continue growing the team throughout the year.

Program components will be introduced iteratively in coordination with researchers and partners. To ensure we are delivering value, we have built in expectations and processes for making adjustments as needed.  The first program launch is a series of data salons, a creative conversation space designed to engage community members, promote discussion, and provide learning experiences. 

Our inaugural data salon will feature our partnership with Openscapes to mentor team cohorts in open data science practices. Join us on October 7, 1–2:30 pm ET to learn more about this effort to develop collaborative practices that are more reproducible, transparent, and inclusive.