The deadline for nominations in the annual BioMed Central Open Data Awards is on January 31st. Get your votes in now!

It’s been a big year for open science in general, and for BioMed Central in particular. We’ve been hard at work promoting the value of data-sharing, developing standards to make it more attractive to researchers, and offering tools to make open publishing even easier. Recognising the importance of citation and reuse tracking in motivating researchers to publish openly, we’ve been promoting standards for data-citation including data DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) as link-able URLs. Through our technology partnership with LabArchives, all our authors can now get 100Mb of free storage and the ability to assign DOIs to their datasets, and thereby create permanent data citations.

This standard is exemplified by various datasets deposited in GigaDB, the database underpinning BioMed Central and BGI’s revolutionary “big data” journal GigaScience, which published its first articles in July 2012.

Critically, GigaDB uses the Creative Commons CC0 waiver for published datasets making data open in compliance with Open Knowledge Foundation principles. We’ve been pushing open licensing since 2010, but in September 2012 we launched a formal public consultation on changing the copyright system in science publishing to better support open data. Look out for the full, public report on the outcomes in early 2013.

##The Open Data Award

But the Open Data Award is a celebration of the work of our authors. Authors who have gone the extra mile to make their science reproducible; their analyses re-computable; and so, fundamentally, their data as open as possible. We look for scientists who have published in BioMed Central journals and have demonstrated leadership in the sharing, standardization, publication, or re-use of biomedical research data.

Last year’s winner exemplified the award’s criteria superbly. The International Stroke Trial group, led by Peter Sandercock published the anonymised 19,000 individual patient data from one the largest trials in acute stroke ever conducted. This kind of transparency is sadly still uncommon in this field, and the data are already being used by at least two other groups since its release.

I’m hoping we will unearth an equally important example of “data sharing done well” from our 2012 publications. As in previous years the authors of Panton Principles – Peter Murray-Rust, John Wilbanks, Rufus Pollock and Cameron Neylon – will be assisting with the judging process, along with Earl Buetler, CEO of LabArchives. With less than a week to go before we begin the judging process, please nominate soon!

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Iain is a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Data in Science, and is Outreach Director at Faculty of 1000 (F1000). Faculty of 1000 publishes four services that support and inform the work of life scientists and clinicians.