Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, August 13, 2007

Funding to improve data sharing in neuroscience

The NIH is funding a project on Sharing Data and Tools:  Federation using the BIRN and caBIG Infrastructures.  From the August 3 announcement:

  • Sharing data and tools across a research community adds tremendous value to the efforts of that community.  Search engines like Google show the power of sharing text based data.  While strides have been made, the infrastructure necessary to share and query data sets that have more than just textual biomedical data is still under development.  Examples of such heterogeneous data sets include those that contain images, clinical data, or genomic/gene expression data.  Two large NIH supported infrastructure projects to allow data and tool sharing are the caBIG™ program and the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN). 
  • Many of the communities involved in neuroscience research embrace the data/tool sharing idea.  Some communities, such as neuroimaging researchers, have seized it, and in so doing, have accrued scientific benefits that would have been otherwise out of reach.  As a specific example, three neuroimaging research communities are serving as the biological test beds for the BIRN infrastructure.  The BIRN infrastructure has now matured to the point where it can serve as a platform for data sharing and informatics tool sharing that extends beyond the neuroimaging researchers involved in the test beds, to include other areas of neuroscience beyond imaging, and to include biomedical research beyond neuroscience....

Modern biomedical research, including, but not limited to, neuroscience research, generates vast amounts of diverse and complex data.  Increasingly, these data are acquired in digital form, allowing sophisticated and powerful computational and informatics tools to help scientists organize, store, query, mine, analyze, view, and, in general, make better use and sense of their data.  Moreover, the digital form of these data and tools make it possible for them to be easily and widely shared across the research community at-large.  The federal investment in computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics research over the past 15 years has resulted in this research community being exceptionally well-poised to take advantage of these converging opportunities, and in so doing, accelerate the pace of discovery in neuroscience.

The purpose of this FOA [Funding Opportunity Announcement] is to encourage researchers to use the caBIG™ and BIRN infrastructures to share data and tools by federating new software tools under these infrastructures or using the infrastructure to federate significant data sets.  Awards issued under this FOA will NOT provide support to develop the tools or to measure data.  The goal is to make these tools/data broadly available to other researchers....

There are four waves of funding and four deadlines for letters of intent: December 18, 2007, August 18, 2008, December 22, 2009, and August 21, 2009.