NIH looking to research community for data and metadata standards

Over the past 18 months the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has taken multiple steps to get a grip on spiraling Big Data challenges, but the initiatives are still taking shape. And the agency is seeking the input of the genomics, bioinformatics and broader medical communities to help finalize its plans.

It is now more than three months since NIH named Philip Bourne as its first associate director for data science. Bourne and some of his colleagues took the stage at the Association of Biomedical Resource Facilities annual conference to outline how they are preparing the agency for a world in which there are 40 trillion gigabytes of data, GenomeWeb reports. Much of this data--which is expected to accrue by 2020--is from social media, but life science organizations are grappling with the petabytes generated by genome sequencers and other sources.

Faced with the need to make this data searchable and usable, NIH wants to support the development of community-based data and metadata standards, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute program director Jennie Larkin said. NIH sees the community-based initiatives complementing a Data Discovery Index it is setting up to help researchers find and cite information. A NIH advisory council will meet in August to discuss the project and the organizations that have applied to be involved. The project could start the following month.

- read the GenomeWeb article (reg. req.)

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