, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 113-122

Owner controlled data exchange in nutrigenomic collaborations: the NuGO information network

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Abstract

New ‘omics’ technologies are changing nutritional sciences research. They enable to tackle increasingly complex questions but also increase the need for collaboration between research groups. An important challenge for successful collaboration is the management and structured exchange of information that accompanies data-intense technologies. NuGO, the European Nutrigenomics Organization, the major collaborating network in molecular nutritional sciences, is supporting the application of modern information technologies in this area. We have developed and implemented a concept for data management and computing infrastructure that supports collaboration between nutrigenomics researchers. The system fills the gap between “private” storing with occasional file sharing by email and the use of centralized databases. It provides flexible tools to share data, also during experiments, while preserving ownership. The NuGO Information Network is a decentral, distributed system for data exchange based on standard web technology. Secure access to data, maintained by the individual researcher, is enabled by web services based on the the BioMoby framework. A central directory provides information about available web services. The flexibility of the infrastructure allows a wide variety of services for data processing and integration by combining several web services, including public services. Therefore, this integrated information system is suited for other research collaborations.