Over the last ten years the amount of data produced by life science research has increased dramatically. This has created collections of data that require significant resources to maintain. We have also seen growth in the number of small, specialised data resources.

Graph showing dramatic rise in storage bought by the EBI
The amount of disk space bought by EMBL-EBI to store data, showing the rapid increase in demand for data storage in recent years.
Larger image

The increasing number and size of data resources means that:

  • it can be challenging for researchers to find the data they need
  • it has become difficult for researchers to quickly assess the quality of each data resource and choose the best ones for their needs
  • it can be problematic to compare and repurpose data because it is often described and formatted in different ways
  • there is increasing demand on finite resources, with implications for long-term sustainability.

To address these issues, we need to establish criteria and markers of quality for data resources, identify the key data resources to fund, and make the data resources easier to find and access.

What the Data Platform does

Core Data Resources

ELIXIR has developed a process to identify European data resources that are of fundamental importance to research in the life sciences and are committed to the long term preservation of data. These resources are called ELIXIR Core Data Resources.

ELIXIR Deposition Databases

ELIXIR coordinates a list of repositories that it recommends for the deposition of life sciences experimental data. These repositories are called ELIXIR Deposition Databases.

The Platform also:

  • Creates formal indicators and quality criteria for the Core Data Resources. These will mean that researchers can choose data resources that follow best practices, and that best suit their requirements.
  • Increases the linkage between publications and the data they are based on, and also between data and other resources. Increasing these linkages helps the data resource providers demonstrate impact and obtain funding.
  • Promotes Open Access as a core principle for publicly funded research. ELIXIR resources should ideally reflect this commitment and have terms of use or a licence that enables the reuse and remixing of data. The Creative Commons licenses CC0, CC-BY or CC-BY-SA are all conformant with the Open Definition (, as are equivalent open terms of use.
  • Collaborates internationally on improving the long term sustainability of data resources, notably by exploring alternative funding models.

Current activities


Jo McEntyre
Jo McEntyre
Platform Lead
Christine Durinx
Christine Durinx
(SIB, ELIXIR Switzerland)
Platform Lead
Rachel Drysdale
Rachel Drysdale
Platform Coordinator

Find out more

  • Contact Rachel Drysdale (rachel.drysdale[at]elixir-europe[dot]org) for questions about the Platform’s work.
  • Learn about the Core Data Resources work:
    • Durinx C, McEntyre J, Appel R et al. Identifying ELIXIR Core Data Resources. F1000Research 2017, 5(ELIXIR):2422 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.9656.2)
    • Gabella C, Durinx C and Appel R. Funding knowledgebases: Towards a sustainable funding model for the UniProt use case. F1000Research 2017, 6(ELIXIR):2051 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12989.1)
  • Learn more about the global data resource initiative:
    • Data management: A global coalition to sustain core data. Nature 543, 179 (09 March 2017) doi: 10.1038/543179a
    • Towards Coordinated International Support Of Core Data Resources For The Life Sciences Biorxiv preprint (27 April 2017) doi:
  • See the current Database Services listing. This list is updated as Nodes finalise or review their Service Delivery Plans (see How countries join).