Request for Information on Developing Experimental Design "Emoji" Symbols for Use in Scientific Presentations

Notice Number: NOT-NS-18-014

Key Dates
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Response Deadline: December 15, 2017  

Related Announcements
None

Issued by
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Purpose

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit feedback from the scientific community on the potential utility of creating freely available, simple symbols ("emojis" or icons) to represent various aspects of experimental rigor or design for use in oral and poster presentations.

Responding to this RFI is completely voluntary. Responses may address any or all aspects of the information requested, which is outlined below, or other relevant topics pertinent for consideration by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Background

Transparently reporting how experiments were designed, conducted, and analyzed is vital for the interpretation and replication of scientific results. For this reason, NIH (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-011.html) and several journals (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6210/679.full?sid=0377bc54-cd7c-4ed0-8ae5-bdc90a55434f) now emphasize rigor and transparency in grant applications and publications, respectively.

Earlier this year NINDS met with conference organizers to discuss potential new efforts to increase transparency in the communication of scientific results at scientific conferences (https://www.nature.com/news/shake-up-conferences-1.22420). Participants concluded that further transparency regarding experimental design, conduct, and analysis in scientific talks and poster presentations is warranted to improve both the communication of early scientific studies and attention to scientific rigor.

One suggestion for improving transparency that came from this meeting was to incorporate easy-to-interpret symbols (“emojis”) into scientific presentations (https://www.nature.com/news/shake-up-conferences-1.22420). Through this RFI, NINDS seeks public feedback on the potential development of such emojis for use by the scientific community.

Information Requested

NINDS invites public feedback regarding the use of emoji icons to represent various aspects of experimental design, data analysis, and rigorous scientific practices. Comments should relate to one or more of the following topics:

(1) The potential utility of emojis as a simple, time-saving means to convey information about study design during oral and poster presentations. Please provide comments on the likely adoption of or concerns regarding the use of emojis. Examples include, but are not limited to, thoughts about potential burden, standardization, or field-specific issues surrounding the use of emojis.

(2) A list of experimental design elements that would benefit from having such an emoji. Examples include, but are not limited to, emojis to indicate blinding, randomization, or exploratory vs. confirmatory experiments (as described in this Comment: https://www.nature.com/news/shake-up-conferences-1.22420). We welcome widely applicable and/or field-specific emoji suggestions.

(3) Ideas for the visual design of suggested emojis. Examples include, but are not limited to, the proposal of a playing die to indicate randomization, a covered eye to indicate blinding of experimental groups, or a check-mark to indicate a confirmatory rather than exploratory study (as described in this Comment: https://www.nature.com/news/shake-up-conferences-1.22420). Comments pertaining to general formatting considerations (e.g. color schemes or potential integration with the Unicode standard) for emojis are also welcome.

How to Submit a Response

Responses will be considered by NINDS if submitted no later than December 15, 2017. After the public comment period has closed, all comments received will be considered in a timely manner.

You may respond to this RFI by submitting an email to NINDS-emojis@nih.gov. Please include the Notice number (NOT-NS-18-014) in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the email.

Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s), summaries, or other materials. Respondents will not receive individualized feedback concerning their responses.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a policy, solicitation for applications, or an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or NINDS to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that NINDS does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Shai Silberberg, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1917
Email: silberbs@ninds.nih.gov

Devon Crawford, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1917
Email: devon.crawford@nih.gov