status: Recognised & Endorsed

Chair (s): Bengt Persson, Carole Goble, Rob Hooft

Group Email: [group_email]

Secretariat Liaison:

Life sciences are increasingly more data intensive, resulting from improvements in large-scale gene sequencing and other “omics” techniques. There is need for large-scale sustainable data storage methods allowing secure and easy access to these complex data. Simultaneously, since life science research projects increasingly depend on more than one type of measurement, there is a need for integrating data of different types. Similar issues and similar data sets come up in different sectors of life sciences, such as health, agriculture, bioindustry and marine life, calling also for interoperability between these sectors. ELIXIR ( has been established to build a sustainable pan-European research infrastructure for biological information providing support to life science research including medicine, agriculture, bioindustry and society.

The ELIXIR Bridging Force Interest Group serves as a bridge between ELIXIR and relevant RDA Interest Groups, e.g. those on agricultural data, big data analysis, federated identity management, marine data, structural biology, toxicogenomics, and data publishing.

The ELIXIR Bridging Force IG does not duplicate ongoing efforts, but rather works as an information bridge between RDA and ELIXIR and other relevant organisations. A few examples of tasks of importance are:

•          Interoperability of different kinds of large-scale (“omics”) data

•          Sustainability of life science data identifiers

•          Mechanisms for secure access to sensitive data, including authorisation and authentication issues

•          Strategies for data storage allowing for computationally intensive analyses

Note that there have been discussions going on in the group to transition into a life science data infrastructure interest group; connections to infrastructure in North America, Australia and Africa have been set up already over the course of the past years

Plenary participation


Increasing Impact of RDA in the Life Sciences

Life sciences have many of their own data standards, they are constantly engaged through collaborations in order to work on new standards (e.g. BD2K, ELIXIR, GA4GH). Some of the work is indeed discipline specific. It also happens that life science organisations work on generic standards, potentially unaware of applicable work that has been done in other disciplines or in the context of inter-disciplinary organisations like RDA. This can negatively impact inter-disciplinary data and tool interoperability. The ELIXIR Bridging Force interest group has, since its inception, tried to bridge this gap by facilitating communication and transfer of best practices and ongoing discussions arising from the global perspective of RDA towards the life-sciences community, and by bringing experience from life science developments into RDA. In this session we would like to pursue options to improve this work, and to promote real-world impact of RDA recommendations in the life sciences.