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Submitting a Research Proposal & Working with the BCSC Research Resource

BCSC is currently sharing custom datasets only as part of a research collaboration. In the future we may resume other forms of data sharing. In the meantime, please see our public-use datasets. Approved projects must follow Statistical Coordinating Center (SCC) procedures, which are described on this web page and in the Guide to Working with BCSC Data (PDF) document.

Criteria for Approving Requests

NCI encourages outside investigators to use BCSC data. Requests for these data will be approved unless one of the following conditions occurs:

  • The proposed project may compromise the protection of privacy and confidentiality of patients, radiologists, facilities, or registries.
  • The purpose of the study is not research.
  • The research question is not sufficiently detailed to determine if the proposed analysis is feasible.
  • BCSC data are not of sufficient quality or completeness to accurately address a specific research question or aim.
  • The data processing necessary to produce the requested files places an unusually heavy burden on data processing staff.

The links below will take you to the instructions for submitting research proposals and working with the BCSC data. Please review all instructions before beginning.

  1. Develop your research question
  2. Submit a BCSC Concept Proposal Form to the SCC
  3. Submit a BCSC Full Proposal Form to the SCC
  4. Sign a BCSC collaborative agreement
  5. Work with the SCC to obtain data or define requested analyses
  6. Submit a BCSC Project Update Form to the SCC
  7. Submit your manuscripts, conference abstracts, posters and slide decks to the SCC prior to submission or presentation
  8. Send analytic datasets to the SCC for archiving

These steps are also described in the Collaborative Writing Guidelines (PDF).

Step 1: Develop your research question.
Scientific investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the SCC and/or other BCSC investigators while developing their research questions to confirm that the BCSC data can meet their needs. Other topics important for planning can be discussed at this time, including the feasibility of data release to investigators who wish to analyze data themselves.
Investigators can visit the following Web sites to identify BCSC investigators (for consultation or possible collaboration) and learn more about the BCSC data and the collaborative process.
Investigators are encouraged to include BCSC investigators as collaborators on their proposed projects given their expertise and experience working with these data. If investigators wish to collaborate with specific BCSC investigators, we recommend that you contact them while you are developing your research question. If you are uncertain of whom you should invite to collaborate, please contact the SCC.
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Step 2: Submit a BCSC Concept Proposal Form to the SCC.
Complete the BCSC Concept Proposal Form (PDF) and send it to the SCC. Please provide a succinct but complete description of your proposed research project. The SCC will use this information to identify potential overlap with approved concept or full proposals, determine whether the project would conform to BCSC data sharing policies, and identify BCSC investigators to facilitate development of the full proposal. This form may also be used to request de-identified data in order to assess feasibility.
Most investigators will receive a decision on their concept proposal within six weeks of its submission.
Please note that approval of a concept proposal does not guarantee approval of the full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted within six months of concept proposal approval; otherwise, the proposal will be classified as inactive, opening the possibility that another investigator can move forward with that research idea.
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Step 3: Submit a BCSC Full Proposal Form to the SCC.
If your concept proposal is approved, the BCSC will work with you to prepare your full proposal. The BCSC can help you to further develop your research ideas, assist you in choosing BCSC data variables, and suggest potential collaborators.
The SCC will send you a Full Proposal Form (PDF) after your concept proposal is approved. This form queries you about the specifics of your research plans, including:
  • collaborators;
  • main hypotheses and research questions;
  • inclusion criteria;
  • years of outcomes of interest;
  • key variables;
  • analytic methods;
  • table shells; and
  • timeline for completion.
Please note: If you are planning on submitting a grant using BCSC data, you must submit your proposal at least 4 weeks prior to the due date.
Budgets and detailed staffing plans are not necessary for proposal approval.
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Step 4: Sign a BCSC collaborative agreement.
If your full proposal is approved, you will be asked to sign a BCSC Collaborative Research Agreement (PDF) before activity begins. The Agreement sets forth the terms and conditions to which you must agree before the BCSC provides you with a dataset or data tables.
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Step 5: Work with the SCC to obtain data or define requested analyses.
The investigator and SCC analyst will work with you to complete the data or analysis request. For analyses, you will discuss and establish the analytical design, table format, and models for data analysis.
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Step 6: Submit a BCSC Project Update Form to the SCC.
Every six months, you will be asked to complete the Project Update Form (PDF). The SCC will e-mail the form to you, and will ask that you return it within two weeks. The purpose of this form is to assist the SCC in tracking data requests and progress in general.
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Step 7: Submit your manuscripts, conference abstracts, posters and slide decks to the SCC prior to submission or presentation.
All manuscripts, conference abstracts, posters and slide decks must be submitted to the SCC prior to submission or presentation. The Manuscript Approval Checklist (PDF) (MS Word) must be submitted along with your manuscript.
We recognize that abstracts for scientific meetings are typically prepared close to their due date. If you cannot send your abstract to the SCC for review at least two weeks prior to the submission date, you may send it for review at the same time you submit it to the conference of interest. In this instance, the investigator must agree to withdraw the abstract if he or she does not receive approval from the BCSC. As many posters and slide decks also are completed close to the time of presentation, investigators may submit an early but solid draft of posters and slide decks rather than the final version.
The purpose of the review is not to critique the science or methods; it is to ensure that confidentiality of the women, physicians, facilities, and sites is maintained, that BCSC data are not misrepresented, and to confirm proper BCSC acknowledgment. If you believe that your manuscript or presentation may contain something of concern, please contact the SCC for guidance as early as possible.
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Step 8: Send analytic datasets to the SCC for archiving.
Investigators who received BCSC datasets must destroy these data within 6 months after project completion. The SCC will archive the datasets that were sent to the investigator for at least 5 years. You may send any analytic datasets created from the data to the SCC for archiving.
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