Today in the United State alone taxpayers pay about $30 billion a year on biomedical research. Traditionally, once scientists completed and published a study the primary data that the publications were based on languished, accumulated dust, and were eventually lost.
It’s been clear for some time that everyone will get a better return on our health care and life sciences research budget if the data generated are available to everyone in a usable form across the Internet. This is the driving force behind a number of bioinformatics initiatives around the world and in the World Wide Web Consortium‘s effort to get linked biomedical data online and integrated into the Semantic Web.
This relatively new effort has resulted in a plethora of previously unobtainable research data being available to everyone through online repositories. At this stage the impact of the available data is anybodies guess although I think the impact will be huge.
Papers based on data from neuroscience research data repositories are beginning to appear. I will review some of these papers so that we may begin assessing the impact of placing neuroscience research data into publicly available online repositories.