NIH Request for Information (RFI): Important Considerations for Potential Creation of an Open-Access Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Data Repository

Notice Number: NOT-AT-17-015

Key Dates
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Response Date:   December 20, 2017

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)



This Request for Information (RFI) seeks public comments on key points to consider regarding potential development of an open access repository and other resources to facilitate the deposit, sharing, and comparison of one- and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data from natural products. For this purpose, "natural products" are defined as specialized metabolites and other small molecules from a variety of natural sources such as plants, fungi, bacteria, and marine organisms.

Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address one or more of the items under "Information Requested." Instructions on how to respond are provided in “Submitting a Response." The deadline to submit your response is December 20, 2017.


One of the core principles of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is that data and results generated through funding using taxpayer dollars should be made available to the public to the greatest extent possible. A number of current policies reflect this. For example, NIH requires that publications emanating from NIH funding be made publicly available1 and genomic data be shared 2. This principle is being considered for extension to other types of data 3, an effort that would include adopting practices following FAIR Data Principles (i.e., to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) 4. Their implementation requires community-based standards for the structure and format of data, and open access repositories to house it.

In the natural products research community, any project generates large volumes of chromatographic, spectroscopic, and spectrometric data. On June 1, 2017, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) hosted a roundtable discussion on development of an open access repository dedicated to data generated in the course of this research. Participants were representatives from across NIH and distinguished scientists from the natural products research community. It was noted at the meeting that there are several repositories for mass spectrometry data that allow researchers to deposit and share spectra. These resources typically offer tools for establishing whether a spectrum already exists in the repository and for analyzing relationships between spectra. However, there is no equivalent resource for NMR data.

One of the roundtable's key outcomes was strong interest in an open access NMR data repository. In this RFI, NCCIH and its NIH partners are interested in obtaining input from the broader research community on the value of this potential resource and on key criteria that would make it most useful.

Information Requested

NCCIH seeks comments on the following topics:

  • The impact the repository could have on the natural products research community
  • Appropriate purity standards for spectra of single chemical entities
  • Value of spectra from complex mixtures
  • Value of NMR spectra for nuclei other than 1H and 13C
  • Appropriate nomenclature standards (e.g., spectra, structures)
  • Other key data standards
  • Minimum metadata requirements for NMR spectra
  • Importance of harmonizing standards with publication requirements
  • Other types of associated analytical data that might be included (e.g., LC, UV, MS)
  • Necessary analysis tools for the most value
  • Minimum size in terms of number and diversity of spectra for maximum usefulness
  • Desired key features and functionality from different perspectives including: users, data contributors, and/or research community

Submitting a Response

Comments on the topic areas should be submitted online at by December 20, 2017. Respondents are free to address any or all of the items listed above; respondents should not feel compelled to address all items. Please note that the text box for each topic has a maximum limit of 250 words.

This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a policy, a solicitation for applications, or an obligation on the part of the Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the United States Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information.

Responses will be compiled and may be shared publicly in an unedited version after the close of the comment period. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any nonproprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). NIH may use information gathered by this RFI to inform development of future funding opportunity announcements and policy development.

We look forward to your input and hope you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.


[1] NIH Public Access Policy Details:
[2] NIH Genomic Data Sharing:
[3] National Institutes of Health Plan for Increasing Access to Scientific Publications and Digital Scientific Data from NIH Funded Scientific Research:
[4] Wilkinson MD, Dumontier M, Aalbersberg IJ, et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data. 2016;3:160018:



Please direct all inquiries to:

D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-496-5825