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July 8, 2010 - 12:00am to July 9, 2010 - 12:00am
Neuroscience Center Building, Conference Room C and D, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Maryland


Karen Skinner, Ph.D.
Deputy Director for Science and Technology Development, Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavior Research

Meeting objectives:

To offer an instructional workshop for individuals conducting substance abuse research to address the following issues and topics:

  • Introduction to tools and methods for discovering data and resources available to addiction researchers
  • Barriers to data and resource discovery and use
  • Application of best practices in structuring, identifying, presenting and reporting data and resources to enhance their discovery and interoperability
  • Use of community adopted vocabularies to enable concept based queries
  • Case studies and lessons to be learned from major efforts in other areas of neuroscience research
  • New approaches for tying together statements made in scientific publications or on the Web to scientific evidence, biological terminologies, and knowledge bases, and to claims and counterclaims made by other researchers.
  • Data and resources described in "speed-talks" by attendees

Workshop Demographic:

Approximately 67 attendees and instructors from 18 different states attended the course. They represented 40 departments in 34 universities, three businesses, and seven Institutes or Centers of NIH. Their expertise ranged from HIV and economics, to imaging, electrophysiology and genetics. They exemplified all career stages from senior investigators to pre-doctoral students, and included both data and resource providers, as well as informatics experts and managers.

Resource and information sharing in conjunction with Workshop

  • An extensive collection of related references and reading materials identified by the course instructors is posted for attendees and the public in an online "reading room" associated with the course.
  • A series of topical "speed talks" by workshop participants, representing a range of research domains were offered to enable attendees to learn about the data resources of their colleagues, and the challenges they faced in managing and sharing their resources. (Speedtalk slides are available via links provided in the agenda.)
  • Speakers' presentations are available through web links in the online agenda.

Workshop outcomes

  • Recognition of the need and value of describing data and resources in ways which enable them to be recognized and discovered by computers
  • Recognition of the importance of using community vocabularies, standard identifiers, and best practices in data structures to enable computer recognition and to advance harmonization and interoperability in addiction research.
  • Agreement on the need to plan for data and resource discovery at the pre-publication stage
  • Recognition of the value of (a) using supplementary journal materials to provide greater data and resource discovery and (b) offering a means to search across such materials
  • Request for improved informatics support by NIDA so that a variety of laboratories have access to informatics support, tools and training for data and resource discovery
  • Suggestion that plans for implementing best practices for data and resource discovery should be incentive-based

Immediate Outcome

In a panel discussion led by Dr. Erich Baker of Baylor University, workshop instructors provided a variety of suggestions and recommendations for Best Practices which could be applied in describing and reporting data and resources to enable their recognition by machine (computer) and thus facilitate their discovery by others. Dr. Baker's summary of these offerings is available on the workshop website here.

Workshop instructors are now independently drafting a paper on Best Practices for data and resource discovery which they plan to submit for publication.