Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The NIH's newest OA database

Gene Russo, NIH offers free access to wealth of disease data, Nature, December 21, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers).  Thanks to Gavin Baker both for the alert and for excerpting the article on his blog.  Since I don't have access myself, I'll gratefully use his:

An unprecedented repository of disease-related data is bringing together information about the genes, health and lifestyles of thousands of subjects studied over many years. The web-based portal will allow any interested investigator to search across multiple epidemiological studies, in the hope of identifying new links to disease.

The ‘database of Genotype and Phenotype’ (dbGaP) is funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was launched earlier this month...

It is the first time that some of these big studies, such as the Framingham, have been available to interested parties. And researchers will now be able to mine the vast stores of genetic, phenotypic and study-protocol data simultaneously. “This is really going to change the scope and efficiency of access to the data,” says Chris O’Donnell, associate director of the Framingham study.

There is particular focus on addressing concerns over privacy...

Also at issue is how much of a publishing advantage should be given to the researchers who may have devoted the best part of their careers to collecting the patient data. The proposed NIH policy calls for a nine-month period during which only the original study investigators can submit a paper for publication based on the data, although all researchers are free to analyse them immediately....