RDAP: Can you provide a short summary of who you are and why your organization decided to support and attend the 2017 summit?
NNLM: The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Department of Health and Human Services. NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library and the developer of electronic information services that provides data to millions of scientists, health professionals and members of the public around the globe. In today’s increasingly digital world, NLM carries out its mission of enabling biomedical research through:
Acquiring, organizing, and preserving the world’s scholarly biomedical literature
Funding advanced research in biomedical informatics and data science
Supporting training and career development, including pre- and post-doctoral research training in biomedical informatics and data science, and specialized training for librarians
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) program is operated by eight Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs) under a cooperative agreement grant with NLM. The mission of the NNLM is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public’s access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The RMLs support more than 6,000 member organizations in the NNLM that connect researchers, health professionals and the public with health information resources and data. Membership in the NNLM is free, and benefits include access to a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers, specialized training opportunities, and funding.
In this era of open science and data driven discovery, new programs and services of the NNLM will support NLM/NIH priorities for biomedical “Big Data”. Two RMLs in the NNLM from the New England Region and the Pacific Northwest Region are sponsoring RDAP in hopes of engaging attendees in future directions of the NLM and gaining insight on how the network can provide data resources to fit regional needs.
RDAP: Which communities does your organization primarily serve and/or represent?
NNLM: The NLM is open to all and has many services and resources. Primary users include librarians, researchers, health professionals, patients, and the general public. The outreach efforts of the NNLM connect these groups with the quality health information resources and services available from NLM.
RDAP: Can you tell us how your organization supports and advances best practices for research data?
NNLM: The NNLM specifically seeks to provide innovative training to data scientists, data sophisticated researchers, data informed clinicians, and data librarians. We understand there is a need for talented workforces to drive high quality research and data production, reuse and interoperability.
To that end, the NNLM is building a community of practice of librarians and other information professionals who have knowledge of Research Data Management (RDM) practices, services and tools that support the management of research data across the lifecycle. Each of the eight RMLs in the NNLM collaborate on strategies to promote research data management, data literacy or data science-related teaching and learning. Some examples include: compiling a LibGuide of data management resources for librarians; developing and launching a data management/data literacy blog series; collaborating on presentations or workshops on data management or data literacy topics for state or regional librarian conferences; and conducting a needs assessment for a web portal built by librarians targeted for researchers (what researchers need to know about RDM and how librarians can fit into those needs and their workflows).
RDAP: What are some of the new challenges facing research data professionals in 2017?
NNLM: A few challenges facing data professionals in 2017 include:
Defining and discovering high level datasets, and promoting the use of standards to improve information quality.
There is a shift from preservation to use for discovery. We can not preserve everything. Therefore preservation strategies must have a clear purpose.
Attention to privacy and data integrity issues as there is more and more pressure to combine data sets and use data in real time.
Keeping on top of the relationship between researchers and the public in an age of distrust of “fact”.
Keeping on top of the extremely rapid pace of change in data that are available, and technologies to harvest and analyze them.
Developing collaborative relationships rather than working in silos.
Fitting the demands of data curation into researchers’ busy work flow.
Finding the motivation to effectively curate and share their data. Very few if any incentives currently exist to motivate researchers to manage and share their data.
Realistically estimating the expense, both in time and money, that will be required to manage their data or purchase existing data.
RDAP: The RDAP Summit strives to provide a venue for reaching across disciplines and institutions to work on common solutions to issues surrounding research data management. Do you have insights on how RDAP differs or compares to other conferences you’ve attended?
NNLM: RDAP Summit draws leaders in the field of data management, repository management, and other roles related to researchers and their data. It also draws attendees of all shapes and sizes: small ideas, large ideas; collaborations, solo work; federal, non-federal; repository, no repository. This great community always seems to provide timely presentations and topics, and provide stimulating and engaging conversations.
Compared to other conferences, RDAP provides a smaller venue for experts to come together, and work together to continue expanding data driven programs and services. RDAP captures the essence of ‘team science’.
RDAP: What is the one thing you want other summit attendees to walk away knowing about your organization?
NNLM: The NNLM has a unique role in connecting people to resources and expertise by serving as hubs for regional biomedical research and data expertise, linked in one national network. With 6,000 members in the NNLM, the RMLs can build research data management capacity at a local level, with national support and resources of the NLM, to help librarians, researchers and clinicians manage, use, and reuse data.