Shining Light on science's "dark data": New venture ensures a fuller scientific record
26 Feb 2008
Not all scientific research leads to groundbreaking conclusions. Valuable research data all over the world is hidden away in lab drawers, unexposed to the light of day, and unused by the scientific community. This body of idle knowledge, or "dark data", is now being set free with the launch of BioMed Central's BMC Research Notes.
BMC Research Notes, a new open access journal, is publishing scientifically sound research across all fields of biology and medicine. This enables researchers to publish updates to previous research, software tools and databases, data sets, small-scale clinical studies, and reports of confirmatory or 'negative' results. The liberating of this "dark data" ensures that this important information is published in standard, reusable formats and is fully searchable and easily harvested for reuse by the scientific community.
Exposing this "dark data" to the light will prove hugely significant for encouraging future advances, and will lead to an increased level of data sharing within the scientific community.
Commenting on the launch of BMC Research Notes, Prof Christophe Ampe of the University of Ghent stated "I strongly support the idea of having this type of informative journal for data otherwise lost for the scientific community. In my view the recent trend not to publish negative results may affect the progression of science in the long term. I often wonder how many times negative experiments are duplicated by different research groups?"
BMC Research Notes will provide a home for short publications, case studies, incremental updates to previous work, results of individual experiments and similar materials that currently lack a credible outlet.
In a similar manner to BioMed Central's other innovative journals (such as Biology Direct and the Journal of Medical Case Reports), BMC Research Notes will make vast deposits of data publicly and freely accessible for researchers and general public alike.
Prof Tina Jaskoll from the University of Southern California heralded the establishment of BMC Research Notes stating "This new journal is long overdue and I applaud BioMed Central for launching it".
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BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.