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Stowers Institute launches Original Data Repository

13 July 2012

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research announces the public launch of the Stowers Original Data Repository (ODR). As a strong supporter of the scientific ideals of transparency and openness, the Stowers Institute believes that the data underlying its published work should be freely accessible to the scientific community.

“The open sharing of data is an important component of the scientific process because scientists build on the work of others to create new knowledge,” said Scientific Director Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D. “We believe that data sharing enhances scientific inquiry by facilitating independent follow-up analyses to confirm, extend or re-interpret findings from the Institute.”

A few scientific journals encourage or require authors to submit all data on which their conclusions are based. The Stowers Institute now requires its members to deposit all original data files underlying published work into the Stowers Original Data Repository or into repositories maintained by third parties.

To the best of its knowledge, the Stowers Institute is the first basic biomedical research organization to implement an institution-wide original data repository.

“Modern technologies in areas like imaging and genomics generate huge data sets, which may go through a series of processing steps to extract meaningful information,” said Winfried Wiegraebe, Ph.D., who heads the Stowers Microscopy Center and spearheaded the implementation of the Stowers ODR. “Because only the final, processed data is typically published, members of the scientific community may find it challenging to make an independent, fully informed assessment of the published results. The ODR supports independent validation and analysis by providing the scientific community with open access to the original data underlying work published by scientists at the Stowers Institute,” he said.

The ODR is based on the OMERO platform, which was developed as an open source project by the Open Microscopy Environment initiative. The user interface was custom-built by a Stowers team.

All available data can be accessed through the ODR homepage or through the Original Data-link placed next to publications listed on the Stowers website. The website indicates the availability of original data in the Stowers Original Data Repository and, if appropriate, links directly to the relevant entry.

Access to the Stowers Original Data Repository is free, but users are asked to register before they can download data. 

About the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, basic biomedical research organization dedicated to improving human health by studying the fundamental processes of life. Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife, Virginia, opened the Institute in 2000. Since then, the Institute has spent over 900 million dollars in pursuit of its mission.

Currently, the Institute is home to nearly 550 researchers and support personnel; over 20 independent research programs; and more than a dozen technology-development and core facilities.

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