As biomedical tools and technologies rapidly improve, researchers are producing and analyzing an ever-expanding amount of complex biological data. New analytics tools are needed to extract critical knowledge from this vast amount of data, and new policies must be developed to encourage data and software sharing to maximize the value of the data for all researchers across the spectrum of biomedical research. In addition, data and metadata standards to ensure data quality and uniformity must be developed, with broad input from the scientific community to ensure that these standards will have maximum utility and value.
In response to the needs articulated by the Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Data and Informatics (http://acd.od.nih.gov/Data_and_Informatics_Working_Group_Report.pdf), the NIH is undertaking several initiatives to address the challenges and opportunities associated with big data. As one component of the NIH-wide strategy, the Common Fund in cooperation with all NIH Institutes and Centers is supporting the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, which aims to facilitate broad use of biomedical big data, develop and disseminate analysis methods and software, enhance training for disciplines relevant for large-scale data analysis, and establish centers of excellence for biomedical big data. The BD2K program will consist of a series of four interrelated and coordinated sub-initiatives:
I.Facilitating Broad Use of Biomedical Big Data
II.Developing and Disseminating Analysis Methods and Software
III.Enhancing Training for Biomedical Big Data
IV.Establishing Centers of Excellence for Biomedical Big Data