NIH Finalizes Policy on Genomic Data Sharing

The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products, and procedures that improve health while protecting the privacy of research participants. The NIH news release contains highlights of the policy.

The GDS policy is an extension of and replaces the Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) data sharing policy. A key tenet of the policy is the expectation that researchers obtain the informed consent of study participants for the potential future use of their de-identified data for research and for broad sharing. NIH has similar expectations for studies that involve the use of de-identified cell lines or clinical specimens.

NIH officials finalized the GDS policy after reviewing public comments on a draft released September 2013. Starting January 25, 2015, the policy will apply to all NIH-funded, large-scale human and non-human projects that generate genomic data. This includes research conducted with the support of NIH grants and contracts and within the NIH Intramural Research Program. A report from members of the NIH Genomic Data Sharing policy team appears in the August 27, 2014, advance online issue of Nature Genetics.