Researchers at NIH and at other academic and research institutions in the United States and internationally are welcome—and encouraged—to use BLSA data and specimens for scientific projects and grant applications. Please note that use and analysis of BLSA data can be quite complex and time-consuming; therefore, BLSA cannot provide preliminary data in advance of project approval.
Getting Started: Submitting a Pre-Analysis Plan
The first step is to submit a Pre-Analysis Plan, which is a short summary of what you would like to do with BLSA data or specimens. The required elements for a Pre-Analysis Plan are provided on the form. We strongly recommend that you became familiar with the BLSA study design and measurements before developing a Pre-Analysis Plan. Please note that a Pre-Analysis Plan is required for each intended manuscript. Your project proposal should include at least one clearly-stated hypothesis and specify the variables and materials you would like to obtain from the BLSA.
Although collaborating with a BLSA Investigator is not required at this stage, working with a researcher familiar with the BLSA can greatly facilitate the submission process. We also recommend that you visit the Approved Studies page to ensure your submission does not duplicate an existing study.
Once submitted, the BLSA team will evaluate whether the Pre-Analysis Plan duplicates previous or current projects, leverages the unique characteristics of the BLSA database, aligns with the BLSA mission and objectives and has scientific merit. After submitting your Pre-Analysis Plan through this website, you will receive a response within 2 to 4 months stating whether your Pre-Analysis Plan was approved or rejected.
If the Pre-Analysis Plan is approved, its status on My Account and Status page will change from "Pre-Analysis Plan Submitted" to "Pre-Analysis Plan Approved" and a link to a form where you can submit the full Analysis Plan will appear. A full Analysis Plan can be submitted only after a Pre-Analysis Plan is submitted and approved.
Submitting an Analysis Plan
If the Pre-Analysis Plan is approved, you will receive an email that requests a more extensive but concise proposal. The full proposal (called an Analysis Plan) should include a background and introduction that describes the status of the literature and the relevance of the problem to be addressed, as well as provide a strong rationale for using BLSA data and other BLSA resources if requested. In the objectives section, include at least one clearly stated hypothesis. Complete the statistical analysis section in accordance with the study hypothesis. Most importantly, provide a detailed description of the variables and all other materials needed from the BLSA. Include relevant references and attach an NIH-style biosketch for the proposed Principle Investigator.
The required elements for a full Analysis Plan are provided on the form. Two to four months after submission, you will receive an e-mail stating whether your full Analysis Plan was accepted, rejected or whether revisions are requested. You may be asked to schedule a conference call to discuss any technical or administrative issues.
The status of your submissions are displayed on the My Account and Status page.
General Guidelines for Submissions
- Be as descriptive and concise as possible.
- Complete all required fields on the submission forms.
- Attach any documents that support the current submission (e.g., previous publications, preliminary data).
- Attach an NIH-Style Biosketch for the anticipated lead author.
You will be contacted by the BLSA team if any additional information is required to properly evaluate your submission.
BLSA Data Use Agreement
By submitting an Analysis Plan, researchers are agreeing to the terms and conditions of use of BLSA data. The full agreement should be downloaded here (PDF, 83KB), read and signed by the researcher, and kept with study plan notes.