EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) has a long track record in archiving electron and X-ray microscopy image data in EMPIAR. More recently, EMBL-EBI in collaboration with OME has built the Image Data Resource (IDR), an added-value database for light-microscopy bioimaging data. IDR is now splitting into Cell-IDR and Tissue-IDR to improve scalability and data accessibility.
Users have also been able to submit images from other modalities, including light microscopy, to the EMBL-EBI BioStudies database, which holds data that do not fit in any of the structured-data archives at EMBL-EBI. BioStudies and IDR are already connected so that cell and tissue reference-image data in BioStudies can be easily imported into IDR for integration on the basis of genetic or drug perturbations and phenotype. Likewise data submitted to IDR (soon; Cell-IDR and Tissue-IDR) can be automatically archived in BioStudies.
The BioImage Archive will provide a central resource for the biological community and a common foundation for existing and future added-value databases.
In its first phase, the BioImage Archive will provide archiving services to EMPIAR. Image data currently in BioStudies will also be migrated to the BioImage Archive, whilst new direct image-data submissions will be accepted by BioStudies, Cell-IDR or Tissue-IDR.
In the second phase, data pipelines from the BioImage Archive will be developed to connect to and feed the Cell and Tissue IDR.
In the future, capabilities will be available to connect other added-value resources that aim to enhance the scientific value of the archived images through curation, integrative analysis and the development of new analytical methods.