RDA and the Biomedical Sciences

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01 March 2017 24018 reads

Biomedical sciences are a set of applied sciences, employing portions of natural or formal science (or both), to develop knowledge, interventions, or technology that are of use in healthcare, public health and the health sciences.

With the evolution of genomics, and more detailed medical techniques, biomedical science is producing more data than ever before. Researchers, clinicians and data managers need to harness this data to allow processes such as data/text-mining, integration, visualization, analytics and the linking of datasets, repositories, data standards and data policies to take place. Of particular importance is the ‘passporting’ of data across borders, systems, and regulations, to allow the integration and comparison of anonymized data from different healthcare systems to occur.

The RDA can help bring stakeholders together, such as clinicians, researchers, funders, journal editors, data managers, and the skilled biocurators and standard developers that will help create and manage the data, and direct these diverse communities towards the common goal of well-structured biomedical data, with accompanying metadata that describes the data using commonly-accepted formats and ontologies, along with ensuring that the data provided confirms to the appropriate reporting guidelines.

There are many opportunities within the RDA to build the technical and social bridges that enable data sharing, including the harmonisation of data standards, policies, technologies, and infrastructure, across borders and communities, and we encourage interested parties to contact the relevant RDA groups if they are interested to find out more.


Biomedical sciences in RDA

Within the RDA, the FAIRSharing (formally BioSharing) WG has attempted to answer the question of linking data, repositories, standards and policies in the biomedical, life and environmental sciences. Starting in 2015 at the 6th RDA Plenary in Paris, this WG has a number of outputs, not least the FAIRsharing Registry itself. Presently, the FAIRSharing registry houses over 800 databases/repositories, over 650 data standards (ontologies, reporting guidelines and models and formats), and 80 plus data policies from journals and funders. For more information, see the FAIRSharing RDA WG page.

The ELIXIR Bridging Force IG, aims, as the name suggests, to be a bridge between ELIXIR, the European life science infrastructure programme, and relevant RDA groups.


Useful links & resources:


Author: Peter McQuilton, FAIRSharing WG Co-chair