What Are “Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” That Should Be Addressed In My Application’s Authentication Plan?

The quality of resources used to conduct research is critical to the ability to reproduce the results, so to address scientific rigor in your NIH application, we ask you to include an authentication plan.

Key resources refer to established resources that will be used in the proposed research.

Key biological and/or chemical resources include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies and other biologics. Key biological and/or chemical resources may or may not have been generated with NIH funds and:

  • may differ from laboratory to laboratory or over time;
  • may have qualities and/or qualifications that could influence the research data; and
  • are integral to the proposed research.

Standard laboratory reagents that are not expected to vary do not need to be included in the plan. Examples are buffers and other common biologicals or chemicals.

Depending on the research study, biological samples may be considered key biological resources that need to be authenticated if they are an established resource, particularly if the investigator received the samples from an outside source.

Each investigator will have to determine which resources used in their research fit these criteria and are therefore key to the proposed research.

NIH recently issued a reminder, highlighting this and other aspects of resource authentication: read NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-068 for details.

Learn more about rigor and transparency in your application from the grants.nih.gov page on rigor and reproducibility, and related resources, including more answers to frequently asked questions.

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