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ELIXIR Database Provider Survey


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Poster for ISMB Stockholm, Jul09

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ELIXIR Database Provider Survey

  1. 1. Introduction The mission of the European Life sciences Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR) is to enable a sustainable infrastructure for biological information to support life science research. For the information gathering phase a survey of biomolecular resources has been carried out. After a pilot survey of 50 databases a final list of 73 questions was optimised to provide detailed information about locations, data types, funding, usage metrics, citations and other statistics relevant to database operation. We prepared mailing lists using the Nucleic Acids Research Molecular Biology Database Collection from Jan 2008 and by running PubMed queries for updates during 2008/2009. The proportion of published databases that included ELIXIR-affiliated countries was 38%. EUROPEAN LIFE SCIENCE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION (ELIXIR) The ELIXIR Database Provider Survey Chris Southan, Andrew Lyall and Graham Cameron EMBL-EBI Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK Results Status and Distribution: From 531 database providers circulated between Oct08 and Apr09 inspection of the URLs showed 63 that were either not live or not updated since 2005. The update status was unclear for a further 78. We received 208 completed survey returns the geographical distribution of which is show in fig.1 Fig.1 Survey Returns by Country Table 1. Funding Sustainability, expressed as a % of 201 responses Funding Sustainability: When asked about funding duration the answers (Table 1) showed that 66% of respondents had one year or less and that only 6.5% had funding of five years or more. Costs: The distribution of reported costs (Fig.2) shows that ~ 25 databases account for ~ 90% of a total investment to date of €308 million with annual costs of €35 million. However ~ 1/3 of responders report no costs, speculatively because these were predominantly smaller databases sustained indirectly by research project funds. Fig.2 Costs per database in €K Conclusions The results of this survey will be invaluable for planning the ELIXIR Data Resources strategy. Only a selection of the data could be presented here and additional documentation is in progress. Further information is available at, including listings of questions, the databases, a map display and slides from the Data Resources Work Package 2 presented at the May 2009 Stakeholders meeting. On behalf of all ELIXIR Stakeholders we would like to express our thanks to those who took the time and effort to complete the questionnaire. We would also draw you attention to an accompanying poster on the ELIXIR Database User Survey by S. Palcy and A. de Daruvar. <ul><li>Additional Results: </li></ul><ul><li>54% allow unrestricted download, in 32% restrictions are technical and in 13% predominantly confidentiality constraints </li></ul><ul><li>65% combine data from multiple sources. </li></ul><ul><li>44% include substantial bioannotation. </li></ul><ul><li>33% currently have web services with 20% planning to introduce it. </li></ul><ul><li>90% of databases were published but citations appeared not to correlate with any other metric. </li></ul><ul><li>Ontology use was 51%, 26% of which were OBO-specified. </li></ul><ul><li>Predominant funding was institutional (49%) followed by national (38%) and European (36%). </li></ul><ul><li>Rating of promotion methods was lead by publications followed by presentations and collaborations. </li></ul><ul><li>Rating of impact assessment was lead by usage metrics followed by user feedback and citations. </li></ul><ul><li>42% consider themselves unique while 58% have some overlap </li></ul><ul><li>The split between broad utility, moderately specialised and specialised resources was approximately equal. </li></ul>Usage Metrics: Considered as a reflection of real-world usage the order of preference was unique users (shown below in fig.3) followed by hits and sessions. Cumulative hits per-month was 60 million for 200 respondents. Fig.4 Institutional Distribution Fig.3 Counts of Unique Users-per month (rightmost is UniProt) Databases per-institution: Approximately 100 separate institutions were covered by the returns. The distribution is shown in fig.4. The majority of institutions had only one responding database. Not assured 36% Assured for at least 1 year 30% Assured for at least 3 years 27% Assured for at least 5 years 3.0% Assured for more than 5 years 3.5% We are considering commercialisation 0.5%