Amplifying Data Curation Efforts to Improve the Quality of Life Science Data

Authors : Mariam Alqasab, Suzanne M. Embury, Sandra de F. Mendes Sampaio

In the era of data science, datasets are shared widely and used for many purposes unforeseen by the original creators of the data. In this context, defects in datasets can have far reaching consequences, spreading from dataset to dataset, and affecting the consumers of data in ways that are hard to predict or quantify.

Some form of waste is often the result. For example, scientists using defective data to propose hypotheses for experimentation may waste their limited wet lab resources chasing the wrong experimental targets. Scarce drug trial resources may be used to test drugs that actually have little chance of giving a cure.

Because of the potential real world costs, database owners care about providing high quality data. Automated curation tools can be used to an extent to discover and correct some forms of defect.

However, in some areas human curation, performed by highly-trained domain experts, is needed to ensure that the data represents our current interpretation of reality accurately.

Human curators are expensive, and there is far more curation work to be done than there are curators available to perform it. Tools and techniques are needed to enable the full value to be obtained from the curation effort currently available.

In this paper,we explore one possible approach to maximising the value obtained from human curators, by automatically extracting information about data defects and corrections from the work that the curators do.

This information is packaged in a source independent form, to allow it to be used by the owners of other databases (for which human curation effort is not available or is insufficient).

This amplifies the efforts of the human curators, allowing their work to be applied to other sources, without requiring any additional effort or change in their processes or tool sets. We show that this approach can discover significant numbers of defects, which can also be found in other sources.

URL : Amplifying Data Curation Efforts to Improve the Quality of Life Science Data

DOI : https://doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v12i1.495

Identifiers for the 21st century: How to design, provision, and reuse persistent identifiers to maximize utility and impact of life science data

Authors : Julie A. McMurry, Nick Juty, Niklas Blomberg, Tony Burdett, Tom Conlin, Nathalie Conte, Mélanie Courtot, John Deck, Michel Dumontier, Donal K. Fellows, Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran, Philipp Gormanns, Jeffrey Grethe, Janna Hastings, Jean-Karim Hériché, Henning Hermjakob, Jon C. Ison, Rafael C. Jimenez, Simon Jupp, John Kunze, Camille Laibe, Nicolas Le Novère, James Malone, Maria Jesus Martin, Johanna R. McEntyre, Chris Morris, Juha Muilu, Wolfgang Müller, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Murat Sariyar, Jacky L. Snoep, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Natalie J. Stanford, Neil Swainston, Nicole Washington, Alan R. Williams, Sarala M. Wimalaratne, Lilly M. Winfree, Katherine Wolstencroft, Carole Goble, Christopher J. Mungall, Melissa A. Haendel, Helen Parkinson

In many disciplines, data are highly decentralized across thousands of online databases (repositories, registries, and knowledgebases). Wringing value from such databases depends on the discipline of data science and on the humble bricks and mortar that make integration possible; identifiers are a core component of this integration infrastructure.

Drawing on our experience and on work by other groups, we outline 10 lessons we have learned about the identifier qualities and best practices that facilitate large-scale data integration. Specifically, we propose actions that identifier practitioners (database providers) should take in the design, provision and reuse of identifiers.

We also outline the important considerations for those referencing identifiers in various circumstances, including by authors and data generators. While the importance and relevance of each lesson will vary by context, there is a need for increased awareness about how to avoid and manage common identifier problems, especially those related to persistence and web-accessibility/resolvability.

We focus strongly on web-based identifiers in the life sciences; however, the principles are broadly relevant to other disciplines.

URL : Identifiers for the 21st century: How to design, provision, and reuse persistent identifiers to maximize utility and impact of life science data

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2001414

Risk of Bias in Reports of In Vivo Research: A Focus for Improvement

The reliability of experimental findings depends on the rigour of experimental design. Here we show limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in a random sample of life sciences publications, significantly lower reporting of randomisation in work published in journals of high impact, and very limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in publications from leading United Kingdom institutions. Ascertainment of differences between institutions might serve both as a measure of research quality and as a tool for institutional efforts to improve research quality.

URL : Risk of Bias in Reports of In Vivo Research: A Focus for Improvement

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002273