Data Sharing Policy

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For a summary of the NIH Guidelines[1] on data sharing. This document provides guidelines primarily intended for those who are acquiring data and metadata obtained as part of large scale NIH-funded projects (greater than $500,000 in direct costs in any one year). Contributors to The GeneNework and WebQTL are at the vanguard in terms of data sharing and have made data sets available within days of acquisition, transformation, and error-checking. "Sharing" however is not equivalent to "free distribution." We anticipate reciprocal contributions from you in the form of one or more of the following: acknowledgement of data sources and use of The GeneNetwork and WebQTL, communication with and possible collaboration with our colleagues who have provided data, suggestions for improvements, and best of all, contributions of new data sets. We hope that you will contribute to the annotation, use, and extension of these data sets in ways that are rewarding to all who are involved.

  • Wellcome Trust-NIH data sharing recommendations.

An excellent set of recommendations on Data Sharing from Large-scale Biological Research Projects have been assembled with the help of The Wellcome Trust (January 2003, Ft. Lauderdale meeting). These Data Sharing Policies have been adopted in large part by the Encode project. Like GeneNetwork, Encode is a distributed effort by many investigators to integrate a variety of data into a common knowledgebase. Both documents are worth reading by if you are using the GeneNetwork for publications. They may also be particularly helpful for groups considering submitting data sets to the GeneNetwork.

Please see for a series of cogent and succinct abstracts on the practice and ethics of data sharing. We particularly recommend reviewing Data Sharing IV.

  • NIH data sharing conditions.

Data sets generated primary or exclusively using NIH funds covered under the Data Sharing Policy (effective after October 2003) will be made available as open resources to academic and non-profit organizations for their own research purposes in a timely manner. "Timely" means no later than the acceptance date for publication of the main findings derived from the relevant data set. In the case of Affymetrix and other high-throughput genomic screening methods, the data release will include (when available) the original images, probe-level data, probe set data, and report files.

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