Scientific Data Management

As a highly interdisciplinary research center, MaCS requires an appropriate system for managing, sharing and exchanging the diversity of data. Within the center different types of data are generated, ranging from experimental results, methodological data (e.g. SOPs) to strictly theoretical outcomes (e.g. models and software tools). The data needs to be exchanged in a straightforward and easy-to-use way between and within the research groups. Thus, a scientific data management that handles the diversity of data and establishes a common understanding is a key feature and an integral part of MaCS.

The data management concept (MaCS-DB) mainly bases on the already existing and well established solution developed for the SysMO (Link: http://www.sysmo-db.org/) consortium including an open-source software platform with a strong social component. The software consists of a relational database storing all necessary information, a web-based portal giving access to infrastructure data of MaCS and the assets catalog (e.g. by searching or browsing), and mechanisms for different APIs interfacing external data repositories. The central point of the social component are PALs (Product and Application Liaisons) - experimentalists, modelers or bioinformaticians as committed representatives of all groups within MaCS.

For standardization efforts MaCS-DB follows the recommended formats and guidelines of the systems biology community. In particular, these are Nature Protocols (Link: http://www.nature.com/nprot/) for Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs); SBML (Link: http://www.sbml.org/), SBO (Link: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/sbo/) and MIRIAM (Link: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/miriam/) for models; MIBBI (Link: http://www.mibbi.org/) for data; and DOI (Link: http://www.doi.org/) or PMID (Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) for publications.

Furthermore, important issues in data management are data protection and legal requirements. MaCS-DB supports up-to-date security and access permission mechanisms. For instance, TLS, a protocol for secure data transfer is used and the access is controlled by IP range. Moreover, internally the software platform provides advanced sharing policies so that every user can fine-tune the access to the owned data.