On 21-22 October DNAdigest attended the BioData World Congress 2015 held at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton. Founder and CEO Fiona Nielsen not only attended the majority of the talks over the two day event, but also took part in the Open Innovation panel and played the role of Amy Friedman in the ‘Genomics in Play’ drama. Additionally, DNAdigest had a stand in a prime location at the event, which was manned by volunteers Craig Smith and Charlotte Whicher.

If you’re interested in what people were talking about on Twitter at the conference – you can read the DNAdigest BioData World Congress Storify complete with pictures of presentations from guest speakers and various quotes from talks.

Thanks to some strategically placed sweets, we were able to talk to lots of the attendees as well as some of the guest speakers including Dr Robert Green (Harvard Medical School), Dr Bob Rogers (Intel Corporation) and Dr Niklas Blomberg (ELIXIR). During the event, we conducted a short online survey on the genomic data searching / accessing / sharing habits of the attendees and speakers. In exchange for completing the survey we gave away DNAdigest Mugs and T-shirts to 6 lucky winners.

Our survey consisted of 3 simple multiple choice questions:

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The results speak for themselves. All but one person asked searched for genomic data and over half of them searched for genomic data daily. However, even though data is being searched for regularly, it was accessed less frequently with the the majority of people asked only gaining access several times a year! This clearly highlights the difficulties researchers have finding and then accessing data and, more importantly, how long it takes to resolve access issues.

Finally, we asked attendees how often they deposited or shared their data. Almost 50% said they never share or deposit data. Although not directly asked in the survey, many people admitted that when they did deposit / share their data, it was shared privately and not made publicly available.

This outcome only reinforces what we already knew at DNAdigest. Researchers are constantly looking for data, often on a daily or weekly basis. However, locating and accessing the data can be very difficult because a lot of data that is either hidden or available under restricted access. It is this gaining of access which delays research and this is why we think that open data and data sharing are so important.

This survey was sponsored by Repositive

Repositive.io is an online community where you can easily find and access human genomic data. You can search through both public and private repositories from around the world in a single click. You can give and receive feedback on public data listings from the Repositive community and you can list a description of your own data to make it discoverable for your colleagues and potential future collaborators. The repositive.io platform is currently in private beta testing and they are calling for researchers keen to get early access in exchange for the platform feedback. Visit the Repositive website for more information.