Request for Information (RFI) Soliciting Input into the Deliberations of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Working Group on the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-067

Key Dates
Release Date: February 13, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


This Notice is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) soliciting input into the deliberations of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Working Group on the National Library of Medicine (NLM).


As defined in statute, the NLM was established to “assist the advancement of medical and related sciences and to aid the dissemination and exchange of scientific and other information important to the progress of medicine and to the public health.” The world’s largest biomedical library, the NLM maintains and makes available a vast multimedia collection of published literature, organizational archives and manuscripts, and still and moving images; builds and provides electronic information resources used billions of times each year by millions of scientists, health professionals, and members of the public; supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics, data and information science, and health information technology; and coordinates a ~6,100-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States. In pursuit of its mission, the NLM has achieved many successes, such as pioneering free Internet access to PubMed, access to genetic and genomic data through GenBank, clinical trial registration and results through, NIH-funded biomedical research as part of the NIH Public Access Policy, and supporting the research and training programs of institutions throughout the country. The full scope of activities of the NLM can be found at Ultimately, the creation and maintenance of these resources help to support and enable access to the results of research funded by NIH and many other organizations.

NIH is committed to ensuring that the NLM continues to leverage technological advances in information and data science to facilitate scientific breakthroughs and understanding of health and disease by scientists, health professionals, and the public. In order to help chart the course for the future of the NLM, the NIH Director established a working group charged with (1) reviewing the current mission, organization, and programmatic priorities of the NLM; and (2) articulating a strategic vision for the NLM to ensure that it remains an international leader in biomedical and health information. In addressing its charge, the working group is to assess specifically how the NLM should:

  • Continue to meet the biomedical community’s rapidly evolving scientific and technological needs;
  • Lead the development and adoption of information technologies;
  • Facilitate the collection, storage, and use of biomedical data by the biomedical and health research communities;
  • Continue to lead in promoting open access models for biomedical data and scientific literature;
  • Balance computational methods and human-based approaches for indexing;
  • Maximize the utilization and cost-efficiency of the NLM’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine;
  • Maximize the usefulness of the NLM’s other outreach and exhibits programs in the context of future opportunities;
  • Interface effectively with the broader and expanding NIH efforts in data science; and
  • Directly contribute to addressing the major data science challenges facing the biomedical research enterprise.

As part of the working group’s deliberations, NIH is seeking input from stakeholders and the general public through this RFI.

Information Requested

This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input regarding the strategic vision for the NLM to ensure that it remains an international leader in biomedical data and health information. In particular, comments are being sought regarding the current value of and future need for NLM programs, resources, research and training efforts, and services (e.g., databases, software, collections) collectively referred to in this RFI hereafter as “NLM elements”. Your comments can include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to the research community (including biomedical, clinical, behavioral, health services, public health, and historical researchers) and future capabilities that will be needed to support evolving scientific and technological activities and needs.
  • Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to health professionals (e.g., those working in health care, emergency response, toxicology, environmental health, and public health) and future capabilities that will be needed to enable health professionals to integrate data and knowledge from biomedical research into effective practice.
  • Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to patients and the public (including students, teachers, and the media) and future capabilities that will be needed to ensure a trusted source for rapid dissemination of health knowledge into the public domain.
  • Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to other libraries, publishers, organizations, companies, and individuals who use NLM data, software tools, and systems in developing and providing value-added or complementary services and products and future capabilities that would facilitate the development of products and services that make use of NLM resources.
  • How NLM could be better positioned to help address the broader and growing challenges associated with:
  • Biomedical informatics, “big data”, and data science;
  • Electronic health records;
  • Digital publications; or
  • Other emerging challenges/elements warranting special consideration.

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically via:
Responses will be accepted through March 13, 2015. Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response.  The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). The NIH may use the information gathered by this RFI to inform the development of future funding opportunity announcements. This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to
Lyric Jorgenson, Ph.D.
Office of the Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy
Telephone: 301-496-1455