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Some final – and future – thoughts on the BioMed Central Open Data award

The following guest post is from Iain Hrynaszkiewicz who is Managing Editor at leading open access publisher BioMed Central and a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Data in Science.

Having already been scooped by some encouraging and eloquent activity in the open data blogosphere here, here, here and here (perhaps there are more), a few final comments and future thoughts on the 2009 BioMed Central Open Data award.

Our internal scientific, and external academic, editors were vital in the candidate selection process this year, but next year we hope to involve more readers. Any article published in a BioMed Central journal (including those on physics and chemistry portals) in 2010 can be considered for the next award so we encourage all our readers – and editors – to contact us if they read or, even better, re-use any useful data published in 2010.

Thanks again to the judging panel – Lee Dirks, John Wilbanks, Peter Murray-Rust, Rufus Pollock and Cameron Neylon – and to Microsoft Research for supporting the award. Without their contributions the award simply would not have been possible.

As Cameron Neylon acknowledges in his blog about the awards licensing of open data is an important issue, and heterogeneity in approaches to data licensing was identified in the examples of original data published in BioMed Central’s journals identified during the selection process. We’re keen to develop a consensus and code of practice on licensing and re-use that best serves the needs of authors, editors and the open data community, in the many different fields incorporated in BioMed Central’s journals.

Another important issue we hope will be addressed by future nominees is standardization of data. Not only do we want articles that include raw data, but we are also looking for data in fully harvestable, machine readable and re-usable formats where possible, and appropriate. Over the coming weeks and months BMC Research Notes will be ratcheting up its involvement in helping to define domain-specific data file standards, including a publication of guidance and best practice. Any potential contributors are, again, encouraged to get in touch.

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