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Guiding Principles and Challenges

CLC Guiding Principles flowchart

Understanding current and anticipated I&IT challenges has been an integral component of the roadmap development process. The CLC and a diverse group of participants from across the institute have collaborated to identify I&IT challenges critical to ensuring the success of the collective mission. The process has helped to emphasize core guiding principles that will address these challenges, including:

  • Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation.
  • Create a Satisfied and Pleased User Community.
  • Maximize Organizational Efficiency.
  • Define and Monitor Processes.
  • Practice Responsible Financial Stewardship.
  • Design Data Systems That Are FAIR+ (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, and Computable).

Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation

Innovative, high-quality, cost-effective, and secure I&IT operations are essential elements of the institute’s mission. I&IT personnel will consistently demonstrate technical expertise, exhibit professionalism, and facilitate communication to maintain an effective working relationship with the NIEHS community. This will foster an environment for I&IT operations that advances scientific knowledge and innovation through the following principles:

  • Consistently define I&IT roles and responsibilities, capabilities, and services.
  • Understand and anticipate the I&IT needs of the scientific and administrative community.
  • Adapt to individual needs to provide the best available service and technology solutions.
  • Provide accurate expectations of resources, services, and the duration of tasks.
  • Value scientific and administrative stakeholder engagement and perspectives.
  • Educate the NIEHS community on the application of I&IT solutions.
  • Support broad training to maximize the use and efficacy of I&IT solutions.

Create a Satisfied and Pleased User Community

Providing efficient, effective, and agile customer service is an integral part of I&IT operations and must not be viewed as optional. Meeting the needs of the community goes beyond technical expertise, and includes important, but basic, characteristics:

  • Be prepared.
  • Be pleasant.
  • Value people’s time.
  • Never promise more than you can deliver, and always deliver.

Maximize Organizational Efficiency

A significant measure of the success of I&IT is its contribution to the institute’s productivity. I&IT must be focused on maximizing organizational efficiency to support the mission.

Define and Monitor Processes

Defining processes involves creating an operating manual that documents each step in an I&IT process (process mapping) and states who is accountable and responsible for a function. It enables a universal understanding of the roles involved in delivering a product or service, what each of these roles does, and what changes because of actions taken by each role. Consistent and systematic monitoring of I&IT processes will help identify where I&IT operations can improve or be streamlined and will enhance I&IT and business effectiveness.

Practice Responsible Financial Stewardship

Financial stewardship includes the mindful planning, management, conservancy, and care of financial choices and resources, beginning at the individual level. It ensures that the performance and efficacy of past projects inform future I&IT investments, helps manage risks, optimizes resources, and fosters the exploration of the potential benefits of new investments.

Responsible financial stewardship begins with an effective and inclusive I&IT budget planning process that promotes accountability and establishes purchasing metrics and guidelines. A commitment to effective data-driven budget planning will enhance prioritization processes and assist in maintaining a roadmap for future investments. Additionally, I&IT systems will promote responsible financial stewardship by maintaining lifecycle-based understanding of current technology.

Design Data Systems That Are FAIR+ (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, and Computable)

Robust data and metadata management are essential for knowledge discovery and innovation, and to subsequent data and knowledge integration and reuse by the research and public health community. I&IT will emphasize solutions that produce and support FAIR+ data. FAIR+ principles further emphasize enhancing the ability of computer systems to automatically find and use data in support of greater automation and efficiencies, in addition to supporting its reuse by individuals.

FAIR+ principles will guide data generators, publishers, curators, and stewards in evaluating whether data management processes are rendering their digital research products effectively. Through these guiding principles, I&IT will provide best practice solutions in data and metadata management to the NIEHS community.

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