More than 50 collaborators at over 30 scientific organizations worldwide, led by researchers at the University of Oxford and Harvard University, have developed a common standard that will enable scientists to share data from different databases in fields ranging from genetics to environmental studies. The new standard provides a way for researchers in different fields to coordinate each other's findings by combining the different data sets. "We are now working together to provide the means to manage enormous quantities of otherwise incompatible data," says Oxford's Susanna-Assunta Sansone.
The data-sharing effort's online presence is known as the ISA Commons. "One of the things that I find most empowering about this effort is that now small research groups can begin to store laboratory data using this framework, complying with community standards, without their own dedicated bioinformatics support," says the University of Cambridge's Jules Griffin.
Sansone says a common standard was necessary due to the deluge of data and technologies used by scientists. "There are hundreds of new technologies coming along but also many ways to describe the information produced," she says. "We can take a jigsaw puzzle of different sciences and now fit the many pieces together to form a complete picture."
From Harvard University
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