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A tool for assessing alignment of biomedical data repositories with open, FAIR, citation and trustworthy principles


Increasing attention is being paid to the operation of biomedical data repositories in light of efforts to improve how scientific data is handled and made available for the long term. Multiple groups have produced recommendations for functions that biomedical repositories should support, with many using requirements of the FAIR data principles as guidelines. However, FAIR is but one set of principles that has arisen out of the open science community. They are joined by principles governing open science, data citation and trustworthiness, all of which are important aspects for biomedical data repositories to support. Together, these define a framework for data repositories that we call OFCT: Open, FAIR, Citable and Trustworthy. Here we developed an instrument using the open source PolicyModels toolkit that attempts to operationalize key aspects of OFCT principles and piloted the instrument by evaluating eight biomedical community repositories listed by the NIDDK Information Network ( Repositories included both specialist repositories that focused on a particular data type or domain, in this case diabetes and metabolomics, and generalist repositories that accept all data types and domains. The goal of this work was both to obtain a sense of how much the design of current biomedical data repositories align with these principles and to augment the dkNET listing with additional information that may be important to investigators trying to choose a repository, e.g., does the repository fully support data citation? The evaluation was performed from March to November 2020 through inspection of documentation and interaction with the sites by the authors. Overall, although there was little explicit acknowledgement of any of the OFCT principles in our sample, the majority of repositories provided at least some support for their tenets.

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