This month’s blog was written by Nicola Mulder, Professor and head of the Computational Biology division at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and Principal investigator of H3ABioNet, a Pan African bioinformatics network for H3Africa, and Mamana Mbiyavanga, a Bioinformatics Scientist and PhD student at UCT, who contribute to a diverse range of CINECA work packages. This blog is less of a technical report in our Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) standards series than the previous 4, and more of a report on how WP6 – ‘Outreach, training and dissemination’ is contributing to developing better implementation of GA4GH standards.
CINECA aims to facilitate the federated analysis of cohort data, which requires the data to be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). However, it is not always easy to determine how FAIR a dataset, piece of software, or other resource is, as the tools that assess compliance with FAIR principles are still being developed. Additionally, the tools don’t necessarily apply to all these types of materials, and not everyone is aware of how to identify and quantify FAIR indicators. To address these issues, CINECA ran a “How FAIR are you” webinar series and hackathon, an event open to all scientific community members.
THE WEBINAR SERIES
The webinar series, which ran from January to April 2021, was aimed at introducing the FAIR principles and how they could be applied to these different types of resources. In the first webinar, Kees van Bochove (The Hyve) introduced the FAIR concept and discussed applications for health data with a webinar on Open science through FAIR health data networks: dream or reality?. This was followed by a webinar from William Hsiao (SFU) on how to make cohort data FAIR. Carlos Martinez (Netherlands eScience Center) then discussed the importance of the FAIR principles for the software tools, presenting the existing initiatives that are developing tools and raising awareness of the importance of FAIR for software. In the fourth webinar, Andrew Stubbs (EMC) spoke about the practical applications of the FAIR data principles, particularly in the context of clinical bioinformatics. This was followed by a webinar on making training materials FAIR by Sarah Morgan and Anna Swan (both EMBL-EBI), and one presented by Melanie Goisauf (BBMRI) on the important topic of ethical, legal and social considerations in FAIR data sharing. The final webinar by Thomas Keane (EMBL-EBI) took place during the hackathon, where he presented the application of FAIR in the CINECA project. This webinar discussed how the CINECA project is applying FAIR principles by using open standards, such as ontologies and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) standards, across the federated network to enable federated data discovery, data access, and analysis. All of these webinars were recorded and are available to watch on the CINECA website.