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GaP FAQ Archive [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 2009-.

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GaP FAQ Archive [Internet].

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Signing Officials (SO)

SO for dbGaP Project

I wonder what the responsibility of designated SO to a dbGaP project is.

The data distributed through the Authorized Access System is intended only to be shared within PI’s institution through a secured computer system. The Signing Official (SO) designated to PI”s dbGaP project is ultimately responsible for proper use and security of downloaded dbGaP data in accordance with data access and data security policies of NIH and dbGaP.

The intuitional SO is registered through the NIH eRA Commons. Any issues and questions regarding the SO registration should be directly addressed to the eRA administrator of your institution. The dbGaP is not able to help you on this.


Lost Passwords

I’m a Signing Official (SO) for my institution, and forgot my password. Could you please assign me a new password?

The login passwords are managed directly through the NIH eRA system. Please see here for how to reset password.


How to Sign Off on a Data Access Request?

I’m the Signing Official (SO) for my institution, and would like to sign-off on a Data Access Request, but cannot find where I’m supposed to do this.



Log into the dbGaP authorized access system using your eRA account login credentials.


As this will be your first time using the system, you will first be taken to a "preferences" page where you will need to complete basic contact information (address, email address, etc) needed by the dbGaP system. Once this is complete, you will not have to fill it out again in order to access the system in the future. Should your contact information change in the future, you can click on the “preferences” link located in the cream-colored box located to the right of your “SO Projects” page, or click on the “My Profile” tab located near the top of the page.


After supplying the system with your contact information, you will be taken to the “SO Projects” page, which lists your queue of research applications needing review and approval.


To approve a request, simply click on the title of the request. You will then need to check the two boxes located in front of approval statements. Once this is done, click the "Approve and Submit to DAC" button. This will route the application to the appropriate NIH DAC(s) for review.


Signing Official (SO) Can’t See PI’s Request

My signing official cannot see the application I submitted three days ago. What do I do?

Make sure the Signing Official (SO) has an eRA commons account, and can actually log into the dbGaP authorized access system to approve principal investigator (PI)’s data requests. Occasionally, a SO may have multiple eRA accounts with different roles. Only the account with SO role should be used to approve PI’s application. If the SO has logged in correctly but is still unable to see your application, please contact dbgap-help at vog.hin.mln.ibcn@pleh-pagbd.

The URL for the dbGaP login page ( should have been included in automatic email notification sent to the SO when you submitted your application. This notification is sent to the SO’s address that was registered in eRA commons database. If this address is no longer valid, it should be corrected directly through the eRA system.


Changing Signing Official

The Signing Offical (SO) currently assigned to PI’s dbGaP project is incorrect. How to make the change?

The SO change of PI’s dbGP project can only be made by the PI. Please see here for more about how to make the change. (09/30/2011)


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