NIH to launch 'Commons' to help scientific researchers better share data

The National Institutes of Health is launching a new project to help scientific researchers better share information.

The project, called "the Commons," will allow datasets to be shared, as well as software and other virtual tools, according to a Nextgov article.

"Eventually, I can imagine a researcher saying, 'I read this paper, I want to find where the data is.' ... Instead of finding the paper, they can actually go out and find the data," NIH Senior Adviser for Data Science Technologies Vivien Bonazzi tells Nextgov.

In addition, the Health and Human Services Department is asking researchers for technical requirements for cloud services providers, with a hope of finalizing those by early next month.

Last month, NIH released its strategic plan through 2020, which includes goals for biomedical research and precision medicine initiatives.

Bonazzi calls the Commons "science at scale," and the NIH is already running pilots for the project, such as the Human Microbiome Project and the NCI's Genomic Data Commons.

However, there will be one challenge NIH has to overcome to see success for the program--getting the researchers to make their data available and shareable.

The agency also this year will be deeply involved with President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative. The NIH is moving forward with plans to enroll 1 million volunteers for the program.

To learn more:
- here's the Nextgov article