Better Science Through Better Data - Open source success thanks to open data
InterMine: open source success thanks to open data
Badly formatted data or hard-to-use programming interfaces: A familiar problem for many researchers. In the early 2000s, FlyMine tackled this problem by integrating open fruit fly biology datasets and providing a single queryable interface for scientific researchers. In the wake of this early success, FlyMine was made generic, suitable for analysis of any
organism, eventually becoming InterMine.
Over a decade later, InterMine has spread worldwide, with thirty different InterMines across Europe, Asia, and North America, dedicated to different organisms and research targets.
This further facilitates research: query syntax, user interface, and data skills are transferable from InterMine to another, providing a common baseline.
These accomplishments are dependent on an “open” science culture, particularly open data. As an open-source project, InterMine typically draws data from freely available web sources. Licensing proprietary data is beyond the reach of many researchers, and without open data, it is unlikely InterMine would ever have been envisioned.
Open science, source and data enable InterMine; in turn InterMine (the software) is open to the community to re-use and modify, and InterMine (integrated data and analysis tooling) is generally open to all scientists. Open data not only benefits science but is an integral part of it.