Reflections on Women’s History Month

My mother always warned me that as I got older, the years would go by faster and faster.  By extension, each month must be going faster as well.  Between the demands of work and the whirlwind speed of life, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly meaningful to you in your life.  In recognition of this, I wanted to take some time to sit still and thoughtfully reflect on the many contributions of women to science and society and acknowledge how much they have done to make my reality a possibility. On this last day of Women’s History Month, I would like to pass along these thoughts for those that may be interested before there aren’t any more days left in March!

I feel very fortunate to work at NIH, both as a scientist and policymaker.  In thinking about this blog though, I was reminded of one of NIH’s early female pioneers, Margaret Pittman, who in 1936 was the first woman named as a laboratory chief.  It really hit home to me that this monumental event occurred so recently.  This is not ancient history.  There are millions of people walking the Earth today who were alive when Dr. Pittman made history.  While this is recent history, it also shows how far NIH has come.  In 2023, the NIH Office of the Director features twelve extraordinary women serving in leadership positions, including the Acting Principal Deputy Director of the agency.  Furthermore, there are currently eleven amazingly talented women running either an NIH Institute or Center.

From my own experience, I have had so many people, men and women, inspire and help me along in my career.  However, when I look back through college and my early professional career there are some towering female figures who provided me with advice and mentorship that got me to where I am today. 

Speaking of where I am today, the NIH Office of Science Policy, has been ably and steadily led by some of the most talented women I have had the pleasure of knowing. Each of my predecessors, Dr. Lana Skirboll, Dr. Amy Patterson, Dr. Kathy Hudson, and Dr. Carrie Wolinetz, have blazed a path for the next and I am so honored to get the opportunity to lead this office and this team. 

Finally, to the women out there who have broken through the glass ceiling and marked the path for women like me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  To my current colleagues, I love working and learning from you.  To the next generation of female leaders, I implore you to remember those who have come before, but don’t forget to make your own history.

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric

Advancing the Promise of Open Science: We Want to Hear from You!

Dr. Brennan
Dr. Schor
Dr. Gregurick
Dr. Lauer

This blog has been co-authored with Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan (Director, National Library of Medicine); Dr. Nina Schor (NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research); Dr. Susan Gregurick (NIH Associate Director for Data Science); and Dr. Michael Lauer (NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research).

It is only February, but this has already been a busy year with respect to open science. First off, the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) became effective January 25, 2023! As you most likely know by now, the DMS Policy requires NIH-supported researchers to prospectively plan for how scientific data will be preserved and shared. We know that sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, leads to cures, and supports transparency, so we see this as a huge step forward for open science.

Implementation of the DMS Policy has been a big undertaking over the last few years, and we are grateful to our colleagues throughout the scientific enterprise for your continued engagement. Your feedback has resulted in providing valuable resources to support the community at, including Frequently Asked Questions and other guidance. We also want to acknowledge our NIH colleagues who worked across the agency to seamlessly ensure that WE were ready to meet this important moment.

Open science is a priority at NIH and across the U.S. Federal Government. Earlier this year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) declared 2023 to be the Year of Open Science. This OSTP announcement included details on actions being taken across the Federal Government to advance national open science policy, provide access to the results of taxpayer-supported research, accelerate discovery and innovation, promote public trust, and drive more equitable outcomes. Keen observers on this topic will also remember that OSTP issued guidance in August 2022 on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research, asking agencies to accelerate access to data and publications.

Today, we are pleased to announce that the “NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research” (NIH’s Public Access Plan) is now available for public review and comment. We are issuing this Plan in response to the OSTP memo and also because it is consistent with NIH’s longstanding commitment to open science. This Plan builds upon the strong foundation of the NIH Public Access Policy which, since 2008, has made over 1.4 million articles describing NIH-supported research available to the public through PubMed Central. As you will see, the Plan builds on what we currently do, and we expect to maintain many current practices. But importantly, we ultimately plan to institute a zero-embargo period on publications so that research results are freely available to the public without delay.

It is important to keep in mind that this Plan is not a proposed policy, but a roadmap of steps NIH will take to enhance access to research products.  Any future updates to the NIH Public Access Policy will, in turn, be released as a draft for public comment. Also, to loop back to the DMS Policy—we expect that the DMS Policy will meet all expectations related to data sharing in the OSTP memo.

The NIH Public Access Plan also provides preliminary considerations on the issue of metadata and persistent identifiers, as described in the OSTP memo. Persistent identifiers contribute to the findability of research products (publications, data, software, etc.) and ensure that appropriate credit for use of those products is maintained. This is another area where public input is needed to inform NIH’s future plans. We will ensure that there will be lots of opportunities to engage on this topic and others over the next months and years.

We also want to take a moment to let you know how the Intramural Research Program at NIH is doing its part to ensure that the research NIH conducts meets the expectations of open science and data sharing.  All scientists at NIH must submit and have an approved data management and sharing plan for all research studies.  Studies involving human participants must have an approved data management and sharing plan in place as a prerequisite for Institutional Review Board review.  Additionally, annual reports of studies must indicate how the investigators have complied with their approved plans.

So far 2023 has been a productive beginning to what is shaping up to be a great year for open science. NIH is fully committed to realizing the expectations of the Biden Administration when it comes to open science. We encourage anyone with an interest in this space to review the NIH Public Access Plan and provide feedback. Comments on the NIH Public Access Plan will be accepted until 11:59 PM on April 24, 2023.  Comments can be submitted via our online portal at:

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric

Building a Solid Policy Foundation Through Meaningful Engagement

If you have visited the OSP website in the last month, you’ve likely noticed it has a new look and feel.  Of course, a few changes were aesthetic, but most were made with one purpose in mind: making information easier to find and use. Hopefully you’ll agree that we’ve achieved that goal with our new design. 

Transparency is a word we use in government quite a bit but putting it into action can be tough. The internet is a big place – simply posting documents online fulfills the transparency mandate but does it actually provide value to users? To understand more about providing value to our users, and as a team of folks committed to evidence-based decision-making, we reached out to a variety of individuals in different positions and roles and asked them to test drive our website. We are grateful for their time and their honesty, as we received candid feedback about their experience on our site. 

I’d like to highlight two significant changes we made based on some of the feedback we heard. First, while the organization and flow may be common sense to those of us with a nuanced understanding of governmental lingo and structure, it was less intuitive to those seeking policy information. Now you will find policies front and center, grouped thematically under policy areas. In doing so we removed redundant clicks. And for those of us who just like to google and see exactly what we need, we put a lot of our efforts into making the search feature highly responsive. The second thing we heard is that getting involved in policymaking still can feel like a black box. I firmly believe engaging your government is a civic duty, so I took this one to heart. Now you will find a new “Get Involved” page which contains information on open requests for information, compiled comments for previous requests, as well as information on upcoming meetings where the public can participate.  

Our approach to our website reflects our approach to policy-making: meaningful engagement and transparency is the key to success. 

You’ll see we are trying new engagement approaches in a variety of settings. For example, as part of the NExTRAC’s latest charge experts are engaging communities across the US to understand community values and preferences about sharing personal health data to inform NIH’s future policy efforts on this topic. No small feat as individual preferences are just that – individual. But how do we consider all these varying perspectives when making policy? Step one is making sure we hear them.  

To put it succinctly, making policy must be a shared experience.  OSP wants to hear from all communities that are potentially affected by the policies we are developing.  The unique perspectives diverse audiences bring to the table will help us ensure we are making the best, most-informed decisions.  Whether it is our website or a major policy relating to the latest scientific breakthrough, OSP is committed to making the voice of the community heard.

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric

How Bioethical Principles Are the Foundation of Great Research

Embedding ethics throughout the research process is essential to the conduct of science in service of society. At NIH, we are committed to this principle as identifying ethical issues early on can help researchers anticipate and prospectively address potentially important challenges that may impact public trust or uptake of research findings. Additionally, by developing practices, informed by lessons from bioethics studies, researchers can design more meaningful studies to achieve scientific and public health goals.

OSP has long promoted an integrated bioethics vision and strategy across NIH through a variety of mechanisms. These include hosting a symposium on the integration of bioethics and biomedical research, coordinating NIH committees on bioethics, and funding Institute and Center-supported bioethics workshops and grants. Another important mechanism is the   awarding of administrative supplements for research and capacity building related to bioethical matters. Over the past four years, NIH has awarded over 120 supplements spanning most of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs).  These administrative supplements have helped support bioethics research in a wide range of fields including: human genome editing, citizen science, organoids, biobanks, and many others.

Recently, NIH published a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) for a new round of administrative supplements available in FY 2023.  This year’s funding announcement was issued by 23 NIH ICs as well as several components of the NIH Office of the Director.  In addition to describing priority areas for OSP, the NOSI also lists areas of specific interest to each IC.  Interested applicants may propose to supplement parent awards focused on bioethics or to address a component related to bioethics in a biomedical and/or health-related behavioral research study.  Applications will be accepted until February 17, 2023.  

These administrative supplements are a unique opportunity to enhance the science that researchers are conducting, and I encourage all interested investigators to apply.  The NIH administrative supplement program has already helped build a significant bioethics evidence base in multiple policy areas. As the program continues, we hope to build on this success by addressing acute policy issues and helping the broader scientific community practice the best science possible. While the terms bioethics and biomedical research might not roll of the tongue as easily as peanut butter and jelly, the pairing is certainly just as sweet.

Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
NIH Associate Director for Science Policy
About Lyric