Open Network Biology and the second Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress

The Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit organization hoping to revolutionize how researchers approach the treatment of human disease, is holding its second annual meeting
this week in San Francisco. BioMed Central is supporting and will be on
location at the event, where Dr Eric Schadt, Pacific Biosciences, USA,
will give an overview of a new BioMed Central journal, Open Network Biology.

Sage Bionetworks aims to better understand changes at the molecular level when patients present with different diseases and symptoms, which in turn will produce better targets for new drug discoveries and facilitate more personalized  healthcare. Building these network models of disease, or maps, involves combining data from currently fragmented omics fields, which do not have a common repository, with clinical data. Part of Sage Bionetwork’s strategy is to ensure that data are explicitly placed in the public domain – the Commons – which involves data contributors waiving all database and other rights in the data. This approach ensures data are interoperable, reusable and open, in accordance with the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science.

This formidable task involves engaging numerous stakeholders in research and the Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress “brings together research and industry leaders, policy and IT experts, patient advocates, foundations and governments to work on programs and platforms that will create a disruptive transition in data sharing and public engagement.” A free live webcast of the Congress platform sessions will be broadcast on April 15-16, 2011 beginning at 8:00 AM PDT (4pm BST). The full agenda is online.

The new BioMed Central journal, Open Network Biology, which is currently under construction and will open for submissions later this spring, will be presented on the first day of the Congress. The journal will publish novel content formats – data-driven articles which relate to predictive, network-based models of living systems linked to the corresponding coherent data sets upon which the models are based. The journal will serve as a platform for scientists working in the emerging field of network biology to add value to and gain academic recognition for their tremendous data sharing and curation efforts. The journal will also welcome submissions of original research, software and methods, along with reviews and commentary.

BioMed Central is supporting the Congress and will be actively participating in the meeting, in particular the activities of Workgroup D – Enabling Sharing, which will explore the rules under which data needs to move and be shared, and to create tools that enable an open Commons that can achieve the full potential of model-driven biology. Part of Workgroup D’s responsibility is to revise the draft Sage Commons Principles for approval by all attendees of the congress. The document is currently open for comment on the congress website.

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