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MLA Addresses Next Generation Data Sciences Challenges in Health and Biomedicine

The Medical Library Association (MLA) has submitted comments to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in response to its Request for Information (RFI) on Next Generation Data Science Challenges in Health and Biomedicine.

MLA's comments and recommendations will help formulate strategic approaches to prioritizing the next phase of NIH's investment in biomedical data science.

The Association addressed that:

  • health sciences librarians are well positioned to work with researchers to ensure that research data is FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable), and maximized to benefit health care;
  • there is need for increased capacity for data support services among health sciences libraries;
  • specialized skills in data management are now essential for health sciences information professionals; and
  • there is need for expanded educational formats, focused community building, and structured training designed specifically for information professionals.

MLA recommended:

  • developing a Data Sciences Specialization in partnership with NLM to meet the continuing education needs of its membership as well as to augment the current set of specializations that MLA offers;
  • developing strategic partnerships with federal agencies in addition to NIH, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, in keeping with team science and to develop training modules in the digital humanities relevant to social and behavioral medicine;
  • partnering with NLM to evaluate information that will help identify areas of knowledge and gaps within the knowledge base of the health sciences library community and to develop curriculum and professional development opportunities; and
  • working with NLM to provide partnership opportunities for the health sciences library community and the NNLM Evaluation Office to evaluate the impact of these courses and training programs.

MLA's comments and recommendations are based on evidence derived from MLA members and the health sciences literature as well as studies to develop biomedical and health research data management training for librarians, current training modules and other continuing education programs.

The Association thanks Tanja Bekhuis, AHIP and Shirley Zhao for co-authoring these comments and recommendations.


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