New NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase

NIH Data Science LogoThe National Institute of Health (NIH), under the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, will be launching a Data Commons Pilot Phase to test ways to store, access, and share FAIR biomedical data and associated tools in the cloud.

A data commons is a way to share and provide access to digital objects, like the data generated during biomedical research, or the software and other tools needed to use the data. A commons would help NIH extract more value from the digital products of biomedical research by making them available to more researchers. Using a cloud-based data commons model will empower researchers to find and interact with data directly in the cloud without spending time and resources downloading large datasets to their own servers.

The NIH Common Fund issued Research Opportunity Announcement RM-17-026 to support several awards as part of an NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase Consortium.

Letters of Intent are required, and are due June 30, 2017 at 5:00 PM ET.

The Data Commons Pilot Phase will include the following activities:

  • Establishing community-endorsed unifying principles and guidelines to govern how the Data Commons operates and what it means for digital objects in the Commons to be FAIR
  • Developing and testing cloud-based platforms to store, manage and interact with biomedical data and tools
  • Setting up the ability to access controlled-access data through appropriate authorization and authentication protocols
  • Harnessing and further developing community-based tools and services that support interoperability between existing biomedical data and tool repositories and portability between cloud service providers
  • Creating portals where users with all levels of expertise can access and interact with data and tools
  • Learning by doing, which involves developing agile, iterative pilots of the Data Commons architecture/platform, testing its utility, troubleshooting, and retesting
  • Analyzing and evaluating the products and processes of the Data Commons Pilot Phase for cost, utility, efficiency, usability, and adherence to FAIR data principles

Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase website where additional information and resources will be updated periodically.



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