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NIH launches the Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative to increase access to biomedical data

7 February 2022

On January 26,  the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) launched the Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI), to enable better access to and discovery of NIH-funded data among generalist repositories. The initiative builds on the findings from the 2019-2020 NIH Figshare pilot and the NIH Workshop on the Role of Generalist Repositories to Enhance Data Discoverability and Reuse, which was co-chaired by Shelley Stall and INCF GB Chair Maryann Martone in February 2020.

The GREI is intended to supplement the domain-specific data repositories that are identified as critical components of the NIH biomedical data ecosystem for data sharing.

“The generalist repositories are a critical part of the biomedical data ecosystem, particularly for neuroscience which generates such diverse data types.  Coordinating across these repositories to ensure uniform standards and supporting a diverse mix of non-profit and commercial providers are important for the functioning of an open, healthy ecosystem” says Maryann Martone.

In this initiative, six established generalist repositories - Dryad, Dataverse, Figshare, Mendeley, OSF and Vivli - will work together to address and implement a common set of capabilities that comply with desirable repository characteristics (as defined in the supplement to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: NOT-OD-21-016).

The participating repositories will establish metrics to better measure usage and impact, develop use cases for data sharing, and train and educate researchers on FAIR data and the importance of data sharing. They will also aim to improve discoverability of data within and across participating generalist repositories, aiming for greater reproducibility and increased reuse of data.

The NIH Office of Data Science Strategy anticipates that this initiative will further enhance the biomedical data ecosystem and help researchers find and share data from NIH-funded studies in generalist repositories.