Data Sharing and Reuse: Roles for Health Sciences Librarians

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Primary contact information...
National Institutes of Health Library
10 Center Drive
MSC 1150
Bethesda MD , 20892
United States
Lisa Federer is the primary contact.
Phone: 301-594-6283
Region: Mid-Atlantic

Description: Funders and journals increasingly are requiring biomedical researchers to make their research data available, and meaningful use criteria also call for clinicians and hospitals to share data for public health purposes. Librarians’ expertise with information organization makes them invaluable collaborators for researchers who want to share their data or locate datasets for reuse and reanalysis. This course will provide librarians with tools and skills to help support data sharing and reuse. Participants will learn about policies regarding data sharing, how to assist researchers to prepare data for sharing, and how to locate and prepare datasets for researchers to reuse. The course will also introduce participants to free software to facilitate sharing and organization of data.

Experience Level: Intermediate
Continuing Education Experience: Basic proficiency with Microsoft Excel
CE Contact Hours: 4 hours
Professional Competencies: Information Systems and Technology, Research + Analysis and Interpretation
Subject: Research, Technology/Systems
Course Type: Face to Face, Hands-on

Educational Objective: After participating in this course, learners will be able to provide support for biomedical and health sciences researchers who will be sharing data as well as those who would like to locate existing datasets for reuse. Specifically, learners will be able to: • Understand NIH and NSF policies regarding data sharing and help researchers interpret these policies; • Help researchers identify an appropriate mechanism for sharing data and assist with preparing data for sharing; • Conduct a “data reference interview” to determine researchers’ needs for datasets for reuse; • Use freely available resources and databases to locate datasets appropriate for researchers’ objectives; • Use OpenRefine (free, open-source software) to prepare messy datasets for reuse and reanalysis; • Identify additional open-source software relevant to data management and reuse, such as R, Python, and Colectica, and be able to recommend an appropriate resource to researchers.


•	Introductions: 15 minutes
•	Data sharing policies: updates and essentials: 30 minutes
•	The “data reference interview”: introduction and pair practice: 1 hour
•	Break: 15 minutes
•	Understanding mechanisms for sharing: repositories, data journals, and more: 45 minutes
o	Identifying appropriate mechanisms for sharing data
o	Searching shared data resources to locate data for reuse
•	Data processing and working with messy data: 1 hour
o	Overview of open source 
o	OpenRefine for processing messy data: hands on practice
•	Questions and discussion: 15 minutes

Need for This Course: Librarians can play a crucial role in helping researchers respond to current trends in biomedical research and new policy developments in the area of data sharing and reuse. Especially since NIH has announced that all researchers receiving NIH funding will be required to comply with a new data management and sharing policy by the end of 2015, researchers will likely need a great deal of support. An increase in data sharing also means that a great deal of new data will be available for reuse and reanalysis. This shared data may be of varying quality; while some datasets may be well-prepared and ready for immediate reuse, other datasets will likely be more difficult to reuse because they lack standard metadata or do not meet best practices for data organization. While these shared data could potentially help drive scientific discovery, researchers will likely need help in locating, obtaining, and using them for their own research. Again, librarians can potentially play an important role in facilitating this reuse.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Demonstration, Discussion, Hands-on Exercises, and Problem-based.

Participant Materials: Handouts, including detailed, step-by-step instructions for completing the hands-on exercises, with screen shots

Facility Requirements: Computers with internet access and OpenRefine software (free and open source, but does require installation)