See all specials


  • Community cleverness required

    Researchers need to adapt their institutions and practices in response to torrents of new data — and need to complement smart science with smart searching.

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Special Report

  • The next Google

    Ten years ago this month, Google's first employee turned up at the garage where the search engine was originally housed. What technology at a similar early stage today will have changed our world as much by 2018? Nature asked some researchers and business people to speculate — or lay out their wares. Their responses are wide ranging, but one common theme emerges: the integration of the worlds of matter and information, whether it be by the blurring of boundaries between online and real environments, touchy-feely feedback from a phone or chromosomes tucked away on databases.

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Column: Party of One

  • Data wrangling

    Collecting and releasing environmental data have stirred up controversy in Washington, says David Goldston, and will continue to do so.

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  • Welcome to the petacentre

    What does it take to store bytes by the tens of thousands of trillions? Cory Doctorow meets the people and machines for which it's all in a day's work.

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  • Wikiomics

    Pioneering biologists are trying to use wiki-type web pages to manage and interpret data, reports Mitch Waldrop. But will the wider research community go along with the experiment?

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  • How do your data grow?

    Scientists need to ensure that their results will be managed for the long haul. Maintaining data takes big organization, says Clifford Lynch.

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Books & Arts

  • Distilling meaning from data

    Buried in vast streams of data are clues to new science. But we may need to craft new lenses to see them, explain Felice Frankel and Rosalind Reid.

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  • The Harvard computers

    The first mass data crunchers were people, not machines. Sue Nelson looks at the discoveries and legacy of the remarkable women of Harvard's Observatory.

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  • The future of biocuration

    To thrive, the field that links biologists and their data urgently needs structure, recognition and support.

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Podcast Extra

  • Podcast Extra: Big Data

    As Google celebrates its 10th anniversary, we find out how science is coping with massive datasets generated by unprecedented computing power. BoingBoing blogger Cory Doctorow tells us about his visits to the LHC data storage facility and the genome sequencing Sanger Centre.

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