BMC Research Notes and BioSharing – collaboration changes everything

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Since its launch in 2008, BMC Research Notes has been working with research communities in all fields of biology and medicine to ensure that data files are published in standard, reusable formats. To facilitate this we have been aiming to produce recommendations for domain-specific data file standards, making it easier for researchers to find information about the optimum, interoperable formats for their data. This is a formidable task but now, via an exciting new partnership with BioSharing, the first version of the catalogue is available.

The launch of our series on Data standardization, sharing and publication edited by open access advocates Dr Bill Hooker and Dr David Shotton was an important step for the journal. Through this project, we are building a growing network of experts on data standards from different communities – from genomics and proteomics, through to metabolomics and medical informatics.

BioSharingBioSharing is a collaborative project founded by Susanna-Assunta Sansone and Dawn Field (Oxford e-Research Center at the University of Oxford) which works at the global level with different communities to build stable linkages in particular between journals, funders, implementing data sharing policies, and well-constituted standardization efforts in the biosciences domain, to expedite the communication and the production of an integrated standards-based framework for the capture and sharing of high-throughput genomics and functional genomic bioscience data. Through the development of “one-stop-shop” catalogues of standards and policies, BioSharing offers an invaluable resource for scientists to identify the standard most suitable for their data whilst offering a forum for stakeholders (research community, funding agencies, and journals) that promotes and encourages discussion to facilitate harmonization and interoperability.

BioSharing’s standards catalogue and BMC Research Notes’ series complement one another – standards groups can contribute educational data notes to the series which helps raise awareness of a specific standard, and which then can be linked to the BioSharing catalogue. Presenting an open dataset formatted in a standardized way (along with the corresponding preparation guidelines), each data note offers a great example of best practice in data standardization.

“We are delighted to be working with BioMed Central, a leader in open access publishing and open data, and I believe this partnership between BMC Research Notes and BioSharing – serving as a hub for data standards related projects – will help us reach a wider community and achieve our common goal more efficiently for a greater benefit to the scientific community”, said Susanna-Assunta Sansone.

“We have been aware of the excellent work on scientific data sharing being carried out by BioSharing for some time and, when they began developing a data standards and ontologies resource, our shared goals became even more obvious. By collaborating on this endeavour we will make more rapid progress, add more value to the project and, most importantly, provide scientists with more comprehensive information on making their data available and re-usable,” said Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Journal Publisher at BioMed Central.