The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Commonfund recently launched the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) imitative. The mission of the BD2K initiative is to enable biomedical scientists to capitalize more fully on the Big Data being generated by those research communities.
With advances in technologies, these investigators are increasingly generating and using large, complex, and diverse datasets. Consequently, the biomedical research enterprise is increasingly becoming data-intensive and data-driven. However, the ability of researchers to locate, analyze, and use Big Data (and more generally all biomedical and behavioral data) is often limited for reasons related to access to relevant software and tools, expertise, and other factors. BD2K aims to develop the new approaches, standards, methods, tools, software, and competencies that will enhance the use of biomedical Big Data by supporting research, implementation, and training in data science and other relevant fields that will lead to:
- Appropriate access to shareable biomedical data through technologies, approaches, and policies that enable and facilitate widespread data sharing, discoverability, management, curation, and meaningful re-use;
- Development of and access to appropriate algorithms, methods, software, and tools for all aspects of the use of Big Data, including data processing, storage, analysis, integration, and visualization;
- Appropriate protections for privacy and intellectual property;
- Development of a sufficient cadre of researchers skilled in the science of Big Data, in addition to elevating general competencies in data usage and analysis across the biomedical research workforce.
Overall, the focus of the BD2K initiative is the development of innovative and transforming approaches as well as tools for making Big Data and data science a more prominent component of biomedical research.
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.
Funding and educational opportunities are provided through the BD2K initiative.
Each day more and more data is generated. Through efforts such as the BD2K initiative it is hoped that the data can be widely used across disciplines and lead to scientific discovery or breakthroughs, particularity in the fields of health and medicine. Health science librarians also play an important role in the organization and curation of data. With expert skills in organization of information librarians are well suited to participate with researchers in data organization processes.