BLOG: Big Data for Success
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Researchers worldwide are working on a cure for spinal cord injuries. In their investigations, they collect enormous amounts of data, in which usually no one else has insight. “Big Data Analyzes” save time and money in the long term and should now increasingly help to drive research forward.
Important data lost in nowhere
At school, you learn not to compare apples to pears. What sounds obvious is a bit more complicated in science, as it is often the case. The number of experimental models (animal models, tissue cultures, cell types, etc.) is large, challenging researchers to compare completely different data. If that were not a hurdle enough, the exchange of information can be difficult.
Until recently, the exchange of data between scientists was very limited. The main findings were published primarily in professional journals. This secured a certain quality, but also created a big problem.
Negative results, so-called “dark data” did not make it to the public and disappeared instead on the hard drives of the institutes. Negative findings, lab notes, annotations, discarded results, and more could be of tremendous value to other scientists. Perhaps these unknown knowledge treasures have long been the answer to many complex questions.
Revolution through Big Data
Processing all this information seems time consuming, but will simplify much in the long term.
Already now, and thanks to neuroinformatics, information from various institutions and disciplines is brought together. Examples of such data exchange platforms include the Allen Brain Atlas, the US BRAIN initiative, the European Human Brain Project, the Big-Data-To-Knowledge (BD2K) initiative and only now emerging in the SCI field the Open Data Commons for spinal cord injuries (ODC-SCI).
A standardized collection gathers huge amounts of data and ensures a uniformity that allows a better comparison. This helps to combine and re-analyze data. Therefore, there were already concrete and applicable results; new knowledge emerged.
As technology advances, tools will become even more powerful in the future, accelerating and simplifying researchers' work. Researchers do not have to go twice as long, saving time and money. Now it means for them to recognize the potential and fully exploit it.
This work is largely inspired from a recent publication of Dr. Adam Ferguson. A work that was supported by Wings for Life.
Yours Vieri Failli