A working group of the Research Data Alliance has proposed a case statement to develop the BioSharing Repository into a registry. Admittedly, I wasn't clear about the distinction until I read through the report a couple of times. Now that I have a better understanding of what the working group is trying to accomplish, I am eager to see how this plays out and if it can adapted in other fields. Personally, I can attest to how hard it is to find relevant standards and repositories for a particular research project. There are simply too many to know and no good way to find the ones that you or your colleagues don't know.
The BioSharing Repository is a catalog of more than 600 databases described using the BioDBCore guidelines. The RDA working group is proposing to develop the existing catalog into a registry of information about databases, content standards, and journal and funder policies. This will certainly help researchers and associated professionals navigate the options more effectively. What had not occurred to me before reading the case statement was that it's really difficult for journals and funders to assess what is happening in a particular community, which makes implementing or changing data policies difficult due to the uncertainty. Interestingly, the group will attempt to develop the project in a way that can be applied to other areas of science (i.e., outside the life sciences). How this might be applied to fields still developing standards and data repositories remains to be seen.
The deliverables for the project include the following and aim to help stakeholders make informed decisions:
- principles for linking information about databases, content standards, and journal and funder policies
- a curated and prototype registry to access and cross-search the information
The timeframe for the project is 18 months, but it looks like the case statement is under community review. The RDA WG review process states that the review is 4 weeks, so this proposal should have a decision soon.