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NIH Data Science Strategic Plan Incorporates MLA Recommendations

NIH released its Strategic Plan for Data Science on June 4, 2018. It incorporates MLA’s April 2018 comments to the NIH developed by members of MLA's Scholarly Communications Committee and Data Special Interest Group, which focused on partnership roles and engaging librarians and information specialists in efforts that support training and infrastructure needs for data science.

NIH’s plan specifically calls for engaging librarians and information specialists in developing data-science solutions and programs (Goal 4, Objective 4-2—Expand the National Research Workforce):

“In keeping with the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Strategic Plan, ‘A Platform for Biomedical Discovery and Data-powered Health,’ NIH will partner with institutions to engage librarians and information specialists in finding new paths in areas such as library science that have the potential to enrich the data-science ecosystem for biomedical research. The NLM Institutional Training Grants for Research Training in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science (T15) program offers one funding vehicle.”

MLA’s aims to provide exciting opportunities for health sciences librarians, and engage librarians and information specialists in

  • helping practitioners and the public interpret and evaluate the information they produce and/or work with;
  • educating users to evaluate the quality and validity of data and enriching the critical reasoning skills of data scientists as producers and consumers of data; and
  • teaching data science basics through library workshops and courses, and making data science education available to a wide community of researchers and the public.

MLA is exploring the creation of a data management specialization. To that end, MLA has assembled a working group of members from its Data Management Curriculum Committee, Medical Informatics Section, Data Special Interest Group, and MLA education staff, to engage with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and NLM, in areas such as performance indicators, curriculum design, and educational offerings.

MLA is delighted that librarians are specifically mentioned in the NIH plan, and that MLA’s own plan is strengthened by collaboration with other organizations and experts in the field,” said MLA’s Executive Director Kevin Baliozian.


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