Data Sharing Services on PhysioNet

PhysioNet offers special services to researchers who are required to develop and implement data sharing plans in accordance with the NIH Data Sharing Policy, and to other researchers who wish to make their data available via PhysioNet. This page outlines these services.

PhysioNetWorks: Protected data archives

By building a protected data archive using PhysioNet's services from the outset of your project, you can back up your data securely as you gather them. At the conclusion of your project, you can have a data set that is ready to be shared and that can stimulate and support further work on your research topic.

All data shared via PhysioNet must be de-identified (i.e., it must not be possible to associate data obtained from human subjects with any individual subjects). PhysioNet's free and open-source deid software may be useful for removing PHI from text files.

Once your data have been de-identified, they can be transmitted to a protected data archive that we will establish for you on a PhysioNet server (PhysioNetWorks). Data can remain protected until a date chosen by you (typically at the conclusion of your project, or at a milestone such as publication of your major findings). At that time, our expectation is that your data will be transferred to PhysioBank, the publicly accessible data archives of PhysioNet.

PhysioNetWorks quick start:

If you are ready to begin, or if you just want to see how PhysioNetWorks can work for you, you can get started immediately:

  1. Create a PhysioNetWorks account for yourself. Each of your collaborators should also create an account. This process takes only a minute or two; once you have finished, you will be directed to your newly-created PhysioNetWorks home page.
  2. Explore the existing PhysioNetWorks projects. Each project has a home page with a brief description written by its owner. Many projects welcome new members; you will find information about joining projects on their home pages.
  3. Click the Create a new project button on your PhysioNetWorks home page. Your project is created within your personal workspace, and links to it appear on your home page. (It is not visible to anyone else at this time.) Set it up as you prefer using its Manage page, and experiment with uploading files to it. You can delete it and start over if you wish.
  4. When you're ready for the next step, mark your project as Ready to activate. Your project will then be reviewed by PhysioNet (usually within a day or two), and if approved, it will be transferred to its own protected workspace on PhysioNetWorks, with a larger storage allocation.
  5. Once your project has been activated, you may share access to it with your collaborators (or any other PhysioNetWorks members) using the project membership controls on its Manage page. You can grant read-only access to some members (reviewers), and read-and-upload access to others (collaborators) if you wish. Although collaborators can upload files to your project archive, they cannot alter existing files; only you (the owner) have that privilege.
  6. After your project is complete (perhaps after your major results have been published), return to its Manage page and mark it as Ready to publish. Your project will be reviewed again by PhysioNet, and if approved, will be transferred to a publicly accessible area on PhysioNet.

PhysioNet Services:

You can create a PhysioNetWorks account for yourself (see PhysioNetWorks Quick Start at right), and you will need to do so in order to obtain any of the services described below.

Researchers who are allocated a protected data archive on PhysioNetWorks agree that they and any colleagues who share it will not use it to store PHI, or any material that they do not have permission to copy, and that they will release their data for posting in a public area of the PhysioNet web site within a reasonable period. NIH grant recipients who agree to these terms are routinely allocated protected storage; we review requests from other researchers and grant allocations for projects that are in line with PhysioNet's goals as space permits.

PhysioBank: Public data archives

When your data are ready to be shared with other researchers, they can be submitted for our review prior to posting them in PhysioBank, the web-accessible public data archives of PhysioNet. See the Guidelines for contributors to PhysioBank for details of the criteria we use while reviewing contributed data sets.

PhysioNet Services:

If you are writing a grant application

Your grant application may require you to include a plan to make the data you collect in the course of your publicly funded research publicly available.

PhysioNet Services: