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Web Interface Defines New Paradigm for Life Science Data Sharing

Riken (05/31/11) Tetsuro Toyoda

The Japanese research institute RIKEN has developed the Scientists’ Networking System (SciNetS), a lightweight Web service interface for accessing large amounts of life science research data across several public and private domains.  SciNetS provides a secure and flexible interface for millions of data records and brings together nearly 200 public database projects, enabling data from different projects to be shared and used based on Semantic Web methods.  The interface defines a set of commands for accessing and searching SciNetS data and their semantic relationships, while delivering results in the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format.  RIKEN has already applied SciNetS to several projects, including international data collaborations on mouse phenotypes, domestic integrated database projects, and the GenoCon International Rational Genome Design Contest.  Semantic-JSON technology also enables life science researchers to combine public and private data, which could help lead to new discoveries.  The Semantic-JSON interface shrinks URLs, similar to the URL-shortening tools used in social media.  The technology is designed to broaden the application of research results to society by developing a life sciences information infrastructure to accelerate data analysis research worldwide.


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