Provide Input on Search Capabilities Across the Biomedical Landscape

Funding News Edition: October 20, 2021
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NIH seeks feedback from the biomedical research community to better understand researchers’ experiences finding data and expectations for search capabilities, which will help NIH evaluate how production-level capabilities are provided for data and information discovery. If interested, provide comments through NIH Request for Information (RFI): Search Capabilities Across the Biomedical Landscape for NIH-Wide Data Discovery.

The information gathered from this RFI will frame the discussions at an NIH-supported workshop on January 19 and 20, 2022. Dr. Susan Gregurick from NIH’s Office of Data Science Strategy is the point of contact for both the RFI and the workshop. Stay tuned for the registration page.

The NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy establishes expectations for sharing scientific data from NIH-funded research and will go into effect on January 25, 2023. Currently, all NIH-supported research is required to include a Data Management and Sharing Plan.

Scope of Search

Search is often equated with search engine capabilities. However, researchers have identified questions from use cases sought from several sources that may or may not be suitable for search engines. Based on the response analysis, this RFI has identified the following three search categories in which NIH is most interested: 

  • Dataset Discovery
  • Cohort Building
  • Knowledge-Based Search

As data and information discovery (search) is multifaceted and includes dataset discovery, cohort discovery, and knowledge/information discovery, NIH is taking a cross-cutting approach to consider user experience, metadata/ontologies for effective search, new technologies, trust/cultural/social aspects, and ethics.

Priority Topics

NIH invites feedback from the perspective of data generators, users, and technology providers about the following topics:

  • Challenges and recommendations for research capabilities that adhere to the FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship, based on the four principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability (FAIR).
  • Approaches that minimize additional burden by capturing dataset metadata in the course of existing activity, e.g., during primary data analysis.
  • Application of the data discovery catalogues, schema, and metadata standards for greater findability of research and clinical data, including anticipated opportunities and challenges. Suggestions for manageable yet useful metadata schemas that can be broadly applied.
  • Current experiences and expectations of basic and clinical researchers, including potential use cases that underpin data and information discovery. Experiences with specific metadata schemas and search systems.
  • Technological challenges and opportunities for appropriate frameworks that can support shared functionality across diverse environments with diverse scientific domains.
  • Appropriate types of organizations within the biomedical research community that can provide sustained, continuously updated discovery capabilities for the community.
  • Observations on factors which may have led to limited uptake or impact of promising approaches.

Submission and Deadline Information

Submit comments electronically through Submission Form: Request for Information (RFI) on Search Capabilities Across the Biomedical Landscape for NIH-Wide Data Discovery by 11:59 p.m. on December 3, 2021.

Do not include any personally identifiable information other than your name and contact information. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response.

Email inquiries to Dr. Susan Gregurick at

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