ELIXIR-NL involved in GA4GH-ELIXIR ‘Beacon’ collaboration

ELIXIR has partnered with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) to provide data-discovery services for genomics that balance efficient data sharing and data protection.The new collaboration, called “Beacon”, will kick off in September 2015. Its goal is to provide consent-based access to genomic data in the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA, a joint project of EMBL-EBI and the CRG in Barcelona) as well as national resources in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands by establishing GA4GH Beacons.

Beacons allow researchers to discover datasets that are available through many participating institutions, providing a single point of access. Designed to be technically simple so that they can be implemented widely, beacons represent an important step towards collaborative, responsible sharing of human genomic data.

ELIXIR and DTL recently organised a hackathon in which the commonalities between FAIR Data and beacons were discussed. Barend Mons, Head of Node ELIXIR-NL: “Beacons are a first step towards FAIR data in genomics. FAIR Data could support the interoperability of the requested genetic data provided by the beacon’s database, by integrating the genetic data with other data. If we want to know whether 3 ‘hits’ in beacons are in fact representing the same finding for instance, we will need provenance. Therefore, we will collaborate on progressively allowing ‘deeper’ searches without disturbing the ‘simplicity feature’ of Beacons themselves”. Read more.


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