Bioinformatic data management and access control

Current status

ELIXIR-CZ deals with two areas that form an integral part of open science:

  • Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI) solving the life cycle of users, their verification, and control of access to services and data,
  • Data Management dealing with storing, organizing, and maintaining the data created by experiments.

ELIXIR AAI is a sustainable and user-friendly infrastructure for both users and services across the world. ELIXIR AAI is a part of the ELIXIR Computing platform, which oversees ELIXIR’s technical infrastructure. A strong and flexible AAI is needed due to the permanently growing amount of processed and archived scientific data in ELIXIR, including increasingly important sensitive human data and due to a growing amount of related services. ELIXIR CZ, together with ELIXIR FI, is a major contributor to ELIXIR AAI and will continue to participate in its development. ELIXIR CZ partners also participate in major international projects dealing with the implementation of AAI in research infrastructures – GN4AARCELIXIREXCELERATEEOSC-Life. Experiences from the aforementioned projects are utilized in the development of ELIXIR AAI, and thanks to that ELIXIR AAI is currently considered one of the most advanced AAI among the other research infrastructure AAI solutions.

Bioinformatics Data Management (DM) is becoming a critical part of bioinformatics research due to the increasing number of tools that generate such data. Even data that were not originally created or collected for research purposes frequently become ‘research objects’ at a later stage. As such, DM is perceived as a critical precursor to making data FAIR. It needs to focus on building a knowledge base together with supportive tooling and decision making associated with the planning and evaluation of the FAIRness and preservation of research output. Recently, the COVID-19 situation showed the importance of FAIR DM and the urgency of its development, implementation and embedding in practice. ELIXIR CZ has been playing an active role in these efforts since the beginning in collaboration with other ELIXIR nodes such as ELIXIR NL, ELIXIR SE, ELIXIR LU, and ELIXIR SI. Our main contribution is the development of the Data Stewardship Wizard tool that has become a key ELIXIR solution for DM (Towards Data Stewardship in ELIXIR: Training & Portal implementation studyELIXIR-CONVERGE). It has also been applied in projects and initiatives of GO FAIR.

Challenges and goals of ELIXIR CZ

  1. Goal 1: Development of ELIXIR AAI as an experimental forerunner for authentication and access control for life and beyond sciences.
  2. Goal 2: Upgrading current AAI frameworks to provide efficient and flexible access control to sensitive data and to big data.
  3. Goal 3: FAIRification of diverse historically independently created distributed data collections and bases and utilizing deep semantics for improving semantic interoperability (“I” in FAIR)
  4. Goal 4: Gradual development of a distributed DM toolkit for bioinformatics researchers that comprises the whole DM lifecycle for FAIR data: from data capture, annotation, and sharing; to integration with analysis platforms and making the data publicly available according to international standards.
  5. Goal 5: Training of researchers in metadata processing and other DM skills.