As members of an international working group to support the rapidly growing core-data resources in the life sciences, we aim to create a sustainable and accessible data infrastructure that will benefit scientists worldwide.
Although researchers have relied on international resources such as the Protein Data Bank and Flybase for decades, the current system is unsustainable because it is largely funded by short-term grants (P. E. Bourne et al. Nature 527, S16–S17; 2015). A global coalition of data resources would provide much-needed governance structure, active service management and community-driven scientific development, which together are currently well beyond the scope of an individual investigator's typical research programme.
Science funders globally should support these data resources on the basis of their value to the research community. The coalition would define indicators to establish the core-data resources that are eligible for international support, develop models for free global access and help to assess the fraction of total research funding needed. It would also compile a set of metrics to estimate the impact, costs and benefits of each resource, including the consequences of curtailing support.
The set of data resources designated as 'core' for the life sciences would reflect a dynamic, reliable and managed portfolio that could adapt to changing scientific needs. The Global Life Sciences Data Resources Coalition will follow the lead of other international coalitions, such as those in health and physical sciences, in setting priorities and evaluating effort. (For details, see W. Anderson et al. Preprint at bioRxiv http://doi.org/b2g4; 2017).
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