Who owns the data?

From the very beginning, the bioinformatics community has championed open data sharing, and turned it into a reality through collaborations such as the ones summarised in Table 1. This open policy has enabled the research community to make good use of data emerging from major international projects such as the Human Genome Project (2) and the Encode project. However, it’s important to realise that open data sharing is not just for these big collaborations. Recent changes in funding policy have begun to reflect the now widely held view that, if public money is being spent on research (in any field), the data from that research should be made publicly available for others to make use of.

Where do I submit my data?

No matter how small-scale your research, you can contribute to the public record by submitting your data to appropriate public databases. This is typically done through dedicated submission tools. If you want to submit your data but don’t know where to start, the vast majority of public databases have help pages and helpdesk staff who are there to assist you. Table 2 shows you some of the submission pages for EMBL-EBI databases.

Table 2 Submission tools for different types of data at EMBL-EBI.

Data type Database submissions
Nucleotide sequence ENA: Submitting and updating data
Functional genomics data (e.g. microarray, RNA-seq and
ChIP-seq experiments)
ArrayExpress: Experiment submissions
Proteomics experiments ProteomeXchange: submit data
Metabolomics experiments MetaboLights: study submission
Protein sequence UniProt: Submissions and updates
Macromolecular structures (including X-ray crystallography,
nuclear magnetic resonance and electron microscope tomography)

PDBe: deposition services
Small molecules ChEBI: Submission tool user manual
Molecular Interactions IMEx consortium: submit your data 
Systems biology models BioModels database: submit a new model