ELIXIR Beacons provide discovery services for genomic data in the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) and in ELIXIR Nodes, using the Beacon technology developed by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).
The GA4GH Beacon is an open sharing platform that allows any genomic data centre in the world to make its data discoverable. Users can ask Beacons straightforward questions like, ‘Do any of these data resources have genomes with this allele at that position?’ The search result informs a researcher as to whether making a data access request is required for their research, saving valuable time and resource.
The first stage of the project (2015-2016) focused on establishing Beacons within ELIXIR Nodes and resulted in six ELIXIR Beacons in:
- ELIXIR Belgium
- ELIXIR Finland (the first ELIXIR Beacon connected to the ELIXIR AAI to demonstrate registered data access level)
- ELIXIR France
- ELIXIR Switzerland
- ELIXIR Sweden
- European phenome-Genome Archive
In January 2017, ELIXIR extended its collaboration with GA4GH to further drive the development and implementation of the Beacon technology across ELIXIR Nodes. The main goals for 2017 are:
- Establish the network of ELIXIR Beacons
- Develop new features
- Add security measures to attract stakeholders with more sensitive data sets while minimising risks to individual privacy,
- Increase strategic partnering with national data owners to enable data flow to the Beacon service
The project is funded through ELIXIR Hub as an Implementation Study. The first Beacon Implementation study kicked off in September 2015 and finished in December 2016. The follow up Implementation study will start in January 2017 and conclude in December 2017.
Serena Scollen, Head of Human Genomics and Translational Data, ELIXIR Hub (serena.scollen[at]elixir-europe[dot]org)