The Medical Research Council is planning to invest £1m in a new data sharing initiative to enhance the access to and the use of biomedical research data.
The MRC, which funds 3,300 researchers in universities and hospitals and employs more than 3,300 people in 29 research units and three research institutes, wants to create an “MRC Data Portal” to better control and ease access to vital research information.
The research council portal will establish a single point of access to guidance, services and tools relevant to researchers’ data sharing needs.
This will include a searchable catalogue of population-based research datasets that enables identification of key research characteristics, including access requirements.
A key feature of the portal will be its support for better research practice - working with custodians of data collections that are of unique, long-term value to researchers – and the MRC is looking to develop some pilot studies in this area.
The move to create a portal does mean the MRC will, in the short term, create a centralised data repository.
Further details of the project are likely to be announced in the first quarter of next year.