University of Southern California


Data Sharing, Privacy, Security and Open Scholarship

As you may have heard, the National Institutes for Health has requested input regarding a possible expansion of its scientific Data Management and Sharing Policy, which will likely require a data management and sharing plan as a condition of award.  In this memo, I provide background on activities at USC and elsewhere related to data sharing, and convey their significance.


Privacy protection.  Safety and security.  Transparency.  Sharing and collaboration. 

These values are central to knowledge advancement, research integrity and research efficiency, protection of research participants, and helping society.  All are important goals for academia.

Unfortunately, we cannot achieve all of our goals all of the time.   By sharing all data, we might sacrifice privacy or security.   By sharing all data, we might sacrifice efficiency in the conduct of individual research projects.

National Forums

Over the last year, open scholarship (or open science) and research security have both received attention.  Examples:

In some of these forums, the focus has been on protecting American generated intellectual property or protecting innovations that are critical to national security.   In others, the focus has been on making research data and publications easily accessible to all.

USC Activities

In the Office of Research we have developed resources and policies that aim to balance privacy and transparency.  We are also preparing for new federal rules, which on one hand expand requirements for data sharing, while on the other push universities to protect intellectual property from theft or exploitation by foreign entities, satisfying the competing goals of those who advocate for protection of novel research and those who push for more openness.

Our over-arching goal is attaining trust and truth in our research.   Toward that end, initiatives have included:

USC Activities in Progress

Current activities include:

Opportunities for Input:

The NIH request for information seeks comments on potential new requirements for scientific data management and sharing.  Please send your input directly to NIH by December 10:

I also appreciate your emails on privacy, transparency, security and open scholarship.  For more information on these topics, see my postings, and the NIH Strategic Plan below:

Wishing you a rewarding and enjoyable winter break.

Randolph Hall
Vice President of Research

Interested in learning more about innovative research practices?  Register for one of our Center for Excellence in Research Workshops.  Topics include data sharing plans, open access and expanding diversity in research.

See CER workshops (RSVP required- click here to register: