Data Harmonization Projects

NIDA’s data-harmonization efforts aim to promote common measures that can be used by researchers across studies within and across particular research fields. By using common measures, researchers can more easily compare and combine datasets to detect more subtle and complex associations among variables, thereby promoting greater collaboration, efficiency, and return on investment.

  • Common Data Elements (CDE) - This portal provides a single source for National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN)-recommended Common Data Elements (CDEs) of Substance Use Disorders for use in clinical trials and electronic health records (EHRs). A data element describes the (data base) characteristics for a discrete piece of data that will be collected, stored or exchanged during the course of a study or a health examination, but does not include the collected data. A common data element is one that can be commonly applied to multiple data sets across different studies or institutions, such that its intentional commonality can improve data quality and promote data sharing.
  • PhenX - Consensus Measures for Phenotypes and eXposures – This initiative added a collection of standardized measures related to substance abuse and addiction within PhenX, a project that is led by RTI International and funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). NIDA recommends that all addiction researchers incorporate these standard measures into their human-subject research, thereby facilitating the gathering and sharing of interoperable data in the addiction sciences.
  • Seek, Test, Treat and Retain Initiative – This initiative is intended to increase the comparability, collaboration, and scientific yield of clinical research on HIV and drug abuse. Toward that end, NIDA has facilitated the harmonization of data collection across 22 grants implementing and testing the STTR paradigm. These grants were funded through two separate funding announcements: "Seek, Test, and Treat: Addressing HIV in the Criminal Justice System" (STTR-CJ) and "Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain: Addressing HIV among Vulnerable Populations" (STTR-Vulnerable Populations). Harmonization activities included the identification of common scientific domains and development of core measures for each domain.
  • Genetics Data Harmonization Project – NIDA's Genetic Consortium has created a list of domains and their associated measures to help with the harmonization of data in the area of genetic studies.