SODA (Software to Organize Data Automatically) for SPARC is a cross-platform desktop software that allows biomedical researchers to easily prepare and share their bioelectronic, neurophysiology, and other similar data and computational models in-line with the new NIH Data Sharing Policy. Initially developed to support the sharing of data funded by the NIH SPARC Program, SODA can now be used to share any data on the SPARC Data Portal since the Portal has become an open repository starting January 2023.
To understand better what SODA is, we present below first what the new NIH Data Sharing Policy consists of and what the NIH SPARC program does before explaining the challenges of data curation and sharing and how SODA can help.
What is the new NIH Data Sharing Policy?
The new NIH Data Sharing Policy, effective since January 25th, 2023, is intended to enforce the sharing of scientific data in order to "accelerate biomedical research discovery, in part, by enabling validation of research results, providing accessibility to high-value datasets, and promoting data reuse for future research studies". Specifically, the policy requires any data generated through NIH funding to be curated and shared according to applicable guidelines for making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). Such guidelines are being developed by various research organizations and groups since they vary based on research fields and data types.
What is SPARC?
The NIH's Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program seeks to accelerate development of therapeutic devices that modulate electrical activity in nerves to improve organ function. You can learn more about SPARC here. The SPARC program has proactively adopted the new NIH Data Sharing Policy since its inception in 2014. Indeed, a major goal of SPARC is to make data issued from the program FAIR such that it is broadly reusable. This is achieved by imposing all SPARC-funded datasets (i.e., collection of data and metadata from a study) to be strictly prepared and shared according to the SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines. The datasets are ultimately published on the SPARC Data Portal where they are openly accessible. Since January 2023, the SPARC Data Portal has become an open repository, meaning that any relevant datasets (bioelectronic, neurophysiology, and other similar data and computational models) can be published on the SPARC Data Portal irrespective of the funding source. With help from SODA and the SPARC Curation Team, this is an excellent way to easily comply with the new NIH Data Sharing Policy and enable future reuse of your data!
What are the SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines?
The SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines have been developed to make bioelectronic, neurophysiology, and similar data and computational models FAIR. They consist of curating data following the SPARC Data Standards (SDS) and sharing them openly on the SPARC Data Portal. More details about the guidelines can be found on the associated documentation here. The process involves several steps including:
- Organizing your data according to SDS folder structure
- Naming files/folders according to the SDS naming convention
- Adding standards metadata files
- Uploading the resulting dataset on the Pennsieve data management platform where more metadata needs to be added
- Finally, sharing the dataset with the SPARC Curation Team who will review it for compliance with the SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines and help with subsequent steps until your dataset is published on the SPARC Data Portal.
What are the challenges?
The SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines are very exhaustive to maximize FAIRness of data but are consequently challenging and time-consuming for researchers to implement.
What does SODA for SPARC do?
SODA for SPARC is a desktop software that makes it very easy to prepare your dataset according to the SPARC data curation and sharing guidelines and have it published on the SPARC Data Portal. The sofware combines intuitive user interfaces with automation such that you can easily and effectively implement all the requirements step-by-step and share your dataset with the SPARC Curation Team for review.
SODA is developed by the team from the FAIR Data Innovations Hub at the California Medical Innovations Institute. You can find out more about us on our website at fairdataihub.org.
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