Dec 15, 2022

Global Biodata Coalition announces the first set of Global Core Biodata Resources

The Global Biodata Coalition (GBC) today announces the first list of Global Core Biodata Resources (GCBRs)—a collection of 37 resources whose long-term funding and sustainability is critical to life science and biomedical research worldwide.

GBC-Global Core Biodata Resources

Researchers the world over rely on data resources to manage, curate and provide access to research data. These resources include deposition databases, which archive

and preserve primary research data, and knowledge bases which draw together and add value to these data through expert curation and annotation — enabling those data to be mined, combined and used to advance research.

The Research Council of Norway (RCN) is one of the members of the Global Biodata Coalition (GBC), and is represented by Professor Inge Jonassen, Head of UiB Department of Informatics, in the GBC board. Professor Jonassen says:  “I am very pleased that RCN is among the first funding agencies to help build the GBC. The biodata resources are of fundamental importance for life science research and innovation – and for example, they were crucial to enable a quick response towards the Covid19 pandemic.”

Like keystone species in an ecosystem, GCBRs represent the most crucial components or nodes within the global life science data infrastructure, whose failure would have a critical impact on the global research endeavour. A key property of the GCBRs is that the data they hold is available openly and can be accessed and used without restriction by researchers the world over.

The GBC brings together major public and charitable funders, who are committed to work in partnership to develop more sustainable funding approaches to support

biodata resources — many of which currently rely on short-term, unstable funding. This first set of GCBRs were selected through a rigorous two-stage process open to

biodata resources globally (see Global Core Biodata Resources: Concept and Selection Process) . More than 60 resources submitted expressions of interest, for which it was necessary that they met several eligibility criteria. At each stage of the selection process, the candidate biodata resources were assessed by a panel of more than 50 independent expert reviewers against a series of criteria that included their scientific focus, the size and reach of their user communities, their quality of service, their governance, and their impact on global research.

The process of identifying the Global Core Biodata Resources builds in the efforts in Europe to identify and sustain ELIXIR core data resources. Professor Sushma Grellscheid, Head of ELIXIR Norway says: “this is a significant moment for bioinformatics globally and we are excited to be at the centre of this development within the vibrant bioinformatics environment here at UiB.”

The GBC’s partner funders will now actively work with the community of GCBRs to explore funding models that ensure these biodata resources are able to develop and sustain the critical services they provide to the global research community.

It is envisaged that the list of GCBRs will grow and develop over time, and there will be further opportunities for resources to apply to be considered for GCBR status over the coming years.

Warwick Anderson, Chair of the GBC Board of Funders, said, “We were delighted by the response to the first call for Global Core Biodata Resources. Thank you to all resources who applied and to the reviewers who gave their time and expertise so generously. The quality and breadth of this list highlights the critical importance of GBC’s mission to ensure these fundamental resources receive long-term sustainable funding”.

Guy Cochrane, Executive Director of the GBC, said, “The announcement of the list will enable funders and biodata resources to come together to co-develop sustainability models that meet their needs, and ensure that these data resources are able to continue to support the global research community”.

Eric Green, Director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute and GBC Board Member said, “Selecting this first set of GCBRs is an important step for better understanding the broader ecosystem of data resources that are vital to life science and biomedical research. It also represents a starting point for enhanced discussions with various research communities and their funders about how best to ensure the long-term sustainability of vital biodata resources.”