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The NBME Data Sharing and Collaboration Program enables external researchers to request de-identified data from NBME.

Collaborate with NBME on Your Next Research Project

NBME collects valuable data and insights through the administration of our assessments and the work of our research team. The NBME Data Sharing and Collaboration Program allows us to share these findings with external researchers pursuing topics of their own interest that also have the potential to benefit the medical education and measurement communities. All data shared by NBME is de-identified to protect the personal information of examinees.

Each approved project is assigned to an NBME staff member, who will partner directly with you and your organization to support the initiative from its early stages to publication.


Applicants should complete a data request form along with a 3 to 4 page proposal that describes:

  • The purpose of the study
  • The specific research questions or research hypotheses
  • The variables to be included (e.g., predictor and outcome variables)
  • The proposed analyses
  • A timeline (e.g., start and stop date; major milestones)
  • A list members of the research team, along with their titles, and affiliations
    • A statement describing their roles in the proposed project

The proposal should also indicate the importance, value or implications of the research, and plans for disseminating results.

The applicant should submit a bio-sketch or CV.  For those proposals that require data from organizations other than NBME (e.g., AAMC; medical schools), the investigator must include a statement that such organizations have agreed to make data available.

Proposals can be submitted by any investigator with a genuine interest in conducting original research in the field of measurement or assessment in health professions education. Preference is given to those with an established record of research, or who show promise of being able to complete a publishable research project. 

Proposals may be submitted any time, but will be reviewed every February and June, with submission deadlines of December 1 and May 1.  

Review Criteria and Process

Proposals are evaluated by NBME staff, with submitting investigators being notified of decisions in February and June.  

Proposals are judged on the following:

  • The clarity of the research question
  • The importance or value of the research
  • The capability of data to answer the research question
  • The quality of data analyses 
  • The qualifications of researchers
  • The researcher capability to maintain security of the data

It is expected that multiple proposals will be submitted during any cycle. Approved proposals will be required to comply with NBME data security requirements. Data sharing projects will not be approved if there is risk that the investigator or others could determine the identity of individuals, programs, or institutions. 

Complex proposals or those involving multiple organizations may require additional correspondence between the investigator and NBME to verify study details, to discuss certain conditions (e.g., possible fees, de-identification process), or to confirm that any third parties can supply the necessary data.  Although NBME will facilitate such discussions, it is the investigator’s responsibility to anticipate such needs to allow time for such discussions.