Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Data Life Cycle Patterns in the Life Sciences

The UK Research Information Network (RIN) and the British Library (BL) have produced an amazing report looking at the patterns of flow of data in its production and tranformation in the research process of life scientists.
Patterns of information use and exchange: case studies of researchers in the life sciences. A report by the Research Information Network and the British Library November 2009.
They have seven case studies that look at the data lifecycles of data for researchers in the following life science disciplines:
  • Animal genetics and animal diseases
  • Transgenesis in the chick and development of the chick embryo
  • Epidemiology of zoonotic diseases
  • Neuroscience
  • Systems biology
  • Regenerative medicine
They have extended Chuck Humphrey's data lifecycle model, and use this extended model to illustrate how the data lifecycles are expressed in these different disciplines:



The diagrams (below) for the different disciplines are very revealing, and show the great deal of diversity in and between these disciplines, as well as the complexity within many of these areas.

In doing this analysis, the researchers found that an effective representation of this information involved the following two axes:
  • "the volume of data being handled"
  • "the complexity or heterogeneity of that data"
The researchers plotted the seven disciplines into this space, shown in the following diagram:

Discipline data lifecycle diagrams:
  • Animal genetics and animal diseases


  • Transgenesis in the chick and development of the chick embryo

  • Epidemiology of zoonotic diseases

  • Neuroscience
  • Systems biology (Computing-bases and Lab-based)



  • Regenerative medicine


  • Regenerative medicine

Note: All of these diagrams presented here are from the publication, which has the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike 2.0 UK: England and Wales License.


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