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NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Data Science

Following an open comment period seeking community input, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its first-ever Strategic Plan for Data Science in recognition of the challenges inherent to storing, managing, and publishing behavioral and other data.

“Accessible, well-organized, secure, and efficiently operated data resources are critical enablers of modern scientific inquiry,” the strategic plan reads. “With publication of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science, NIH aims to maximize the value of data generated through NIH-funded efforts.”

The strategic plan establishes five overarching goals for its data science efforts. These are:

  • Support a highly efficient and effective data infrastructure
  • Promote modernization of the data-resources ecosystem
  • Support the development and dissemination of advanced data management, analytics, and visualization tools
  • Enhance workforce development for biomedical data science
  • Enact appropriate policies to promote stewardship and sustainability

The report details implementation tactics which NIH will use to achieve these overarching goals.

Of particular relevance to behavioral scientists is that NIH, in its plan, identifies the need to improve the ability to capture, curate, validate, store, and analyze clinical data for research. As a first step, NIH aims to develop linkages among NIH data resources containing clinical and observational data.

NIH also notes that it intends to hire a Chief Data Strategist who will guide development and implementation of data science activities and connect NIH data science efforts with other federal groups, funding agencies, and private organizations.

To learn more about NIH’s data science plan, read the NIH press release or view the data science plan directly (PDF link).

Interested in the intersection of psychological science and data science? Be sure to check out the inaugural issue of Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, APS’s newest journal, which includes a special section on challenges in making data available.


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