Biological data continues to grow exponentially and will continue to do so as technology becomes more powerful and affordable. Standards were initially created in order to make this overwhelming amount of data accessible for interested researchers. However, despite the creation of over 600 standards, are listed by the BioSharing registry, research objects are not yet fully discoverable by machines, let alone interested human parties.

Computation, automation and scaling up are the only way to viably sort the current quantity of data and prepare it for human use. Therefore, a series of principles have been established for all the data to to become machine readable. These four basic principles for the correct storage and distribution of data are: Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability (FAIR).

A Nature Genetics Editoral (Nature Genetics 48, 343 (2016). doi:10.1038/ng.3544), published in March, 2016, provides more information about the needs, application and challenges of the FAIR principles.

The repositories so far created for biological data are becoming diverse in terms of purpose and forms. The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA), is aware of the current situation, and is committed to developing the necessary systems and tools for EGA data to be FAIR-compliant, whilst maintaining the privacy and security requirements that are needed to protect human genomic data.