What is DUOS?
DUOS enables a researcher to submit a single request for multiple datasets, and the corresponding data access committees to review these requests and provide a response to the researchers. In this process, DUOS also codifies researchers’ requests and datasets’ data use limitations using the Data Use Ontology (DUO) developed by the GA4GH. This makes requests more decipherable both to DACs and DUOS’ matching algorithm, expediting the DAR turnaround time. For more information, watch our video on how DUOS streamlines the DAR process:
The current data access request (DAR) process for controlled-access data has significant bottlenecks. Delays are incurred by unnecessary and repetitious burdens put on Signing Officials to approve researchers for individual data requests. Delays are further exacerbated by providing data access committees (DACs) with ambiguous and non-compatible terms in dataset permissions and data access requests, which they are obligated to interpret and evaluate to maintain compliance.
DUOS aims to reduce the DAR turnaround time for researchers while enhancing the thoroughness of a DAC’s DAR review while simplifying the process. DUOS does this using the GA4GH's Data Use Ontology (DUO), Library Card Agreements, and the DUOS matching algorithm.
What is a Library Card?
A Library Card is a type of data access agreement that allows an institutional Signing Official to pre-authorize researchers to submit data access requests directly to a specified data access committee without further review by the Signing Official, expediting the DAR turnaround time. Library Cards are meant to change what are now repetitive 5-10 minute tasks done daily or weekly by Signing Officials, and change them to a once annual review of a list of authorized researchers.
- Your Institution must be registered in DUOS, and
- Your Institutional Signing Official will be required to login to DUOS.org and
- Issue these permissions to the Google identity (Gmail, or enterprise Google account) you will use to apply for access in DUOS
In order to start this process, please first have your Signing Official login to DUOS with their email. Then, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
- Your Institution's name
- Your Signing Official's name and email
How do I make a data access request in DUOS?
If you have not yet registered with DUOS, please make sure to do so via the DUOS homepage. Once registered, you can proceed to the DUOS Dataset Catalog to search for and identify the datasets you would like to request, then select them and click the ‘Apply for Access’ button. You will then be taken to the Data Access Request Application workflow in DUOS. Please fill out the form as directed and click ‘Submit’ when finished. You will be able to monitor the status of your DAR via your Researcher Console page. For more information, watch our tutorial video on submitting data access requests:
Does DUOS automate data access requests?
No, DUOS does not automate data access requests. DUOS’ matching algorithm would easily allow for data access request review to be automated and instantaneous, and we are testing the algorithm with multiple DACs to see if and how this may be possible. Currently, DACs use the DUOS matching algorithm for decision support in their DAR reviews. As community confidence in the matching algorithm grows, we will allow each DAC to control if and when they automate their DARs via DUOS.
What is the difference between a Library Card, a Passport, and a Visa?
The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health released a technical specification for GA4GH Passports and Visas. Passports are a digital representation of a researcher’s identity, which may be composed of multiple unique attributes about the researcher. These respective digital researcher attributes are called Visas and the aggregate sum of the Visas is a researcher’s Passport, according to the GA4GH technical specification.
The Library Card on the other hand is not a digital or technical specification, but rather a policy/legal agreement that can assert permissions to researchers.
These concepts may come together in that a researcher may be issued Library Card permissions which could be represented technically as a Visa on a researcher’s Passport.
Can my DAC use DUOS?
Yes! If you and/or your DAC are interested in using DUOS, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
If my DAC wants to use DUOS, does my data have to be in a specific system?
Nope! Any dataset may be registered in DUOS, regardless of the physical location of the data. Data Custodians and DACs interested in using DUOS are responsible for making sure researchers approved for access via DUOS are able to access the data once approved.
How do I determine the data use limitations for my dataset(s)?
DUOS is actively developing a tool to enable you to determine your datasets’ data use limitations according to the GA4GH Data Use Ontology, which we aim to make publicly available soon. For further assistance, our experienced team is glad to consult with anyone needing guidance in assigning data use limitations to their datasets.
Does DUOS store genetic data?
No. DUOS only enables the metadata you see displayed in the DUOS Dataset Catalog to be stored in DUOS. All genetic data that may be requested via DUOS is stored in external systems, and predominantly in Broad’s Terra service, though the use of Terra is not required for DACs to register their data in DUOS.
If I make my data available via DUOS, does it need to be located in a single location?
No. However, the Data Custodian for your dataset(s) will be responsible for providing access to researchers approved by the DAC. Having data in multiple locations will be increasingly complex for Data Custodians to set and maintain access permissions, as well as for researchers to access and analyze the data in aggregate.
Can DUOS allow for multiple parties to review and approve a data access request?
Yes. There are two ways to enable multiple individuals to review a DAR in DUOS.
One option is to add multiple individuals to your DAC, as DAC Members. DAC Members are able to offer comments and a suggested vote to the DAC Chair, without directly controlling the final vote on the DAR. This option is most helpful for individuals who are in the same organization or consortium, or who collaborate with one another.
Another option is to set a Data Owner for a dataset. In the case of a DAR approval by the DAC, a notification goes to a Data Owner for them to review the DAR and either approve or deny the DAR themselves. This option is most helpful for separate organizations to clearly delineate each group’s responsibilities and authority.
Do I have to be a PI to apply for access to data via DUOS?
Each institution's Signing Official(s) are responsible for evaluating researchers' eligibility to receive a Library Card and submit data access requests. Without this pre-authorization from a Signing Official, a researcher will not be able to submit a DAR.
Do I need an eRA Commons account to apply for access, and how do I get one?
Yes, you must have an eRA Commons account in order to request access to data via DUOS. If you do not have an eRA Commons and would like to obtain one, please follow the NIH instructions.
Do I have to be a US-based researcher, at a US institution, or a US citizen or permanent resident to apply for and receive an eRA Commons ID?
No, you do not need to be based in the US in any manner to obtain an eRA Commons ID.
How do I know who my Signing Official is?
A Signing Official is an individual with the legal signing authority to make decisions on behalf of the institution. In most cases, this is someone involved in your legal department or office of sponsored research.
Please see NIH's eRA Commons Registration FAQ for more details.
How long will it take for my data access request to be approved?
Each DAC in DUOS is self-managed, meaning researchers may experience different average turnaround times from each DAC. DUOS’ aim is to decrease turnaround time as much as possible while ensuring a thorough DAR review.
If I am approved for access, where and how do I access the data?
Each DAC may store its data in different locations, however much of the data accessible via DUOS is available in Terra. Instructions on how to access data and data access permissions will be shared with researchers once approved by the DAC in DUOS. For questions or issues on accessing data via Terra please see the Terra support documentation, or reach out to the support team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am having issues accessing the data I was approved for via Terra. What do I do?
If you are having issues with accessing the data and have already been granted access by the Data Custodian, please reach out to Terra customer support at email@example.com. If you believe you have not yet been granted access to the data for which you are approved, please reach out to the Data Custodian listed for the respective datasets in the DUOS Dataset Catalog.
I received a DAR approval email from DUOS, but I have not received access to data. What do I do?
If you are having issues with accessing the data and have already been granted access by the Data Custodian, please consider reaching out to the system administrator of the repository in which the data is stored. For DUOS datasets stored in Terra, you can reach the Terra customer support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you believe you have not yet been granted access to the data for which you are approved, please reach out to the Data Custodian listed for the respective datasets in the DUOS Dataset Catalog.
How do I grant access to my lab staff after being approved for access to data?
Subsequent access grants to lab staff members depend upon the repository in which the data is stored. For information on how to share access permissions with colleagues in Terra, contact Terra support at email@example.com
I have accessed the data I was approved for, but I believe is an issue with it (ex. missing or incorrectly formatted data). What do I do?
Please contact the Data Custodian listed for the dataset(s) in the DUOS Dataset Catalog.
Why was my data access request denied?
Most often, this occurs when the proposed research is not permitted by the data use limitations on the dataset(s). Please note that each DAC in DUOS is self-managed and DUOS is not permitted to share results or comments to researchers beyond what is provided to the researcher by the DAC. In the near future, DACs will have the option of providing comments to the researcher when conveying a DAR decision.
I am a member of the same institution which manages access to a dataset. Do I still need to submit a data access request?
This varies by institution. We suggest that you reach out to the internal colleagues who are the Data Custodians for the dataset(s) and/or your institution’s Signing Official to determine the answer to this question.
How do I issue or remove a Library Card for one of my researchers?
Signing Officials are able to do this via the DUOS user interface at their own discretion, once they've followed the Signing Official onboarding process described above.