BioSharing is a collaborative effort, started and supported by a variety of communities. The project stems from the initial work published in collaboration with a range of representatives from US, UK and European funding agencies (Field, Sansone et al. 2009). The first inaugural meeting was held at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) 2010 conference (in Boston, USA) as part of the M3 & BioSharing special interest group (SIG).


BioSharing works at the global level to build stable linkages in particular between journals, funders, implementing data sharing policies, and well-constituted standardization efforts in the biosciences domain, to expedite the communication and the production of an integrated standards-based framework for the capture and sharing of high-throughput genomics and functional genomic bioscience data, in particular. This objective is achieved via the creation of web-based catalogues and a communication forum, each of which is further described below.


Several data preservation, management and sharing policies have emerged in response to increased funding for high-throughput approaches in major genomics and functional genomics bioscience domain; and nowadays, several funding agencies also require inclusion of data-sharing plans in grant applications, and are beginning to actively monitor adherence. But despite some commonalities, the policies are heterogeneous by nature, given the different types of communities served and the data types they generate. In parallel, an escalating number of community-developed standards (reporting requirements, terminological artifacts and exchange formats) operate to support the harmonization of the reporting process, so that different experiments can be comprehensible and (in principle) reproducible, compared or integrated.

The research community, funding agencies, and journals continue to participate in the development of standards and tools to support data sharing, as they must if it is to become practicable and commonplace. There are similar trends in both the regulatory arena (Shabo, 2006; FDA Data Standards) and commercial science (Barnes et al., 2009; Pistoia Alliance) that in particular has invested heavily in procedures and tools that integrate external information with their own data to enhance the decision-making process.

The proliferation of these standardization efforts is a positive sign of stakeholders' engagement, but it also brings with it new sociological and technological challenges - creating interoperability and avoiding unnecessary overlaps and duplication of efforts that hampers their wider uptake and interfere with the creations of data sharing tools. Two basic pillars are missing in this endeavor, let aside the ethical, commercialization, credit and other known now issues arising from the public release of data that other groups have started tackling. “One-stop shop” catalogues help centralizing information on bioscience data policies, standards and links to other related portals, and formal communication channels are need to maintain linkages between stakeholders to enable flow of information and mutual support. Hence the creation of the BioSharing project.


The web-based BioSharing catalogues aim to centralize bioscience data policies, reporting standards and links to other related portals.

1. Providing a “one-stop shop” for those seeking data sharing policy documents and information about the standards and technologies that support them.
2. Exposing core information on well-constituted, community-driven standardization efforts and link to their standards, documentation, training material, news and contact point.
3. Linking to exiting portals, such as MIBBI , but also open access resources, such as BMC Research Notes and Nature Precedings, with documents or publications on standards.


The BioSharing communication forum aims to maintain linkages between stakeholders, in particular funders and leaders of the standardization efforts, to enable flow of information and mutual support.

1. Lobbying for intra-harmonization within the two stakeholders groups to promote
1.1 exchange of ideas and policy components among public and private funders, and between funders and potential fundees, to ensure the difference among the policies (such as the reporting standards supported) ultimately do not impede seamless interoperability of the data;
1.2 cross-project activities among the standardization efforts to create interoperable reporting standards and to avoid unnecessary overlap, duplication of effort and incompatible tools.

2. Identifying a mutual support system between the two stakeholders groups to ensure
2.1 funding agencies are abreast with challenges the standardization efforts face and can provide targeted funds to sustain their development and maintenance;
2.2 ensure that when community-developed standards are mature and appropriate standards-compliant systems become available these are channeled to the appropriate funding agencies, who in turn endorse them in their data sharing policies, thus achieving wider harmonization of the data.


BioSharing will have a combination or targeted and open-attendance meetings, normally as part of larger meetings so as to reach as broad an audience as possible especially potential fundees and therefore future users of standards. BioSharing is open to collaborations with interested parties working on related initiatives, also to establish (bi-directional) links with other relevant resource to enrich and enhance the catalogues.

BioSharing funders Biosharing In partnership with BioMed Central Data sets conforming to data standards can be submitted for consideration to BMC Research Notes ISA tools and Infrastructure MIBBI @biosharing's twitter feed BioSharing's facebook page BioSharing Blog RSS Feed