Genomics and protein free-to-use data resources are widely considered crucial among geneticist and biomedical researchers. As a free-of-charge genomic archive, the EGA considers this pertinent Science In depth article (1) worth to highlight.
Currently, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is providing key genomic and biological databases with nearly $30 million a year. NHGRI director, Eric Green, has recently called together leaders of these databases to inform them that by 2020 new options for funding will be needed. National Institutes of Health (NIH) leaders are searching for alternative ways to make these resources more efficient and are urging databases to consider charging for use. These alternative ways to be considered may include combining some databases to lower costs, shifting some databases to other institutes, automatising the curation process or adopting a subscription model.
However, the databases supported by the NHGRI are wary of this model. Their main concerns are that paywalls may prevent researchers from linking to genetic data in other databases and that researchers would need to use their grant money to subscribe.
The NHGRI-funding databases listed below would be forced to follow the precedent of The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR), the central database for a model organism in plant science, that started charing fees in 2013:
- Gene Ontology Consortium
- Mouse Genome Database
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
- Saccharomyces Genome Database
- Zebrafish Model Organism Database
(1) Funding for key data resources in jeopardy – Science In Depth
1 January, 2016. Vol. 351, Issue 6268, pp. 14 – DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6268.14