A sea of standards for omics data: sink or swim?

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Mar-Apr 2014;21(2):200-3. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002066. Epub 2013 Sep 27.


In the era of Big Data, omic-scale technologies, and increasing calls for data sharing, it is generally agreed that the use of community-developed, open data standards is critical. Far less agreed upon is exactly which data standards should be used, the criteria by which one should choose a standard, or even what constitutes a data standard. It is impossible simply to choose a domain and have it naturally follow which data standards should be used in all cases. The 'right' standards to use is often dependent on the use case scenarios for a given project. Potential downstream applications for the data, however, may not always be apparent at the time the data are generated. Similarly, technology evolves, adding further complexity. Would-be standards adopters must strike a balance between planning for the future and minimizing the burden of compliance. Better tools and resources are required to help guide this balancing act.

Keywords: Data Sharing; Data Standards; Information dissemination; Terminology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Databases as Topic / standards*
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Medical Informatics / standards*
  • Microarray Analysis / standards


  • Biomarkers