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[Online ahead of print]

The ELIXIR Core Data Resources: Fundamental Infrastructure for the Life Sciences


The ELIXIR Core Data Resources: Fundamental Infrastructure for the Life Sciences

Rachel Drysdale et al. Bioinformatics.


Motivation: Life science research in academia, industry, agriculture, and the health sector depends critically on free and open data resources. ELIXIR (, the European Research Infrastructure for life sciences data, has identified a set of Core Data Resources within Europe that are of most fundamental importance for the long-term preservation of biological data. We explore characteristics of their usage, impact and assured funding horizon to assess their value and importance as an infrastructure, to understand sustainability of the infrastructure, and to demonstrate a model for assessing Core Data Resources worldwide.

Results: The nineteen resources currently designated ELIXIR Core Data Resources form a data infrastructure in Europe which is a subset of the worldwide open life science data infrastructure. We show that, from 2014 to 2018, data managed by the Core Data Resources more than tripled while staff numbers increased by less than a tenth. Additionally, support for the Core Data Resources is precarious: together they have assured funding for less than a third of current staff after four years.Our findings demonstrate the importance of the ELIXIR Core Data Resources as repositories for research data and knowledge, while also demonstrating the uncertain nature of the funding environment for this infrastructure. ELIXIR is working towards longer-term support for the Core Data Resources and, through the Global Biodata Coalition, aims to ensure support for the worldwide life science data resource infrastructure of which the ELIXIR Core Data Resources are a subset.

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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