Over the last 5 years, multiple stakeholders in the field of spinal cord injury (SCI) research have initiated efforts to promote publications standards and enable sharing of experimental data. In 2016, the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke hosted representatives from the SCI community to streamline these efforts and discuss the future of data sharing in the field according to the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data stewardship principles. As a next step, a multi-stakeholder group hosted a 2017 symposium in Washington, DC entitled "FAIR SCI Ahead: the Evolution of the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury research." The goal of this meeting was to receive feedback from the community regarding infrastructure, policies, and organization of a community-governed Open Data Commons (ODC) for pre-clinical SCI research. Here, we summarize the policy outcomes of this meeting and report on progress implementing these policies in the form of a digital ecosystem: the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury (ODC-SCI.org). ODC-SCI enables data management, harmonization, and controlled sharing of data in a manner consistent with the well-established norms of scholarly publication. Specifically, ODC-SCI is organized around virtual "laboratories" with the ability to share data within each of three distinct data-sharing spaces: within the laboratory, across verified laboratories, or publicly under a creative commons license (CC-BY 4.0) with a digital object identifier that enables data citation. The ODC-SCI implements FAIR data sharing and enables pooled data-driven discovery while crediting the generators of valuable SCI data.
Keywords: FAIR data; ODC-SCI; community-based repository; data sharing; spinal cord injury.