What is it about?

While it is capital to promote the sharing of genomic and clinical data for health research, ensuring data security is challenging. The Beacon, a Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) API specification, addresses this by enabling data discovery while maintaining controlled access. It responds to queries about specific data, allowing varying levels of detail based on the data owner's preferences. Beacons, already deployed globally, facilitate federated discovery, complementing central catalogs. This article provides tips for data owners interested in deploying a beacon for secure and discoverable data sharing.

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Why is it important?

Genomic and clinical data sharing is pivotal for advancing diagnosis and treatment, offering potential benefits such as improved treatments, personalized healthcare, and enhanced disease control. However, the critical need for high-level data security poses a significant barrier to effective data discovery and sharing, as sensitive information must be protected. The Beacon standard offered a unique solution to that problem. We wrote this article in order to make the deployment of beacons as discovery tools easier for researchers and clinical professionals.


"We hope that this article will be of value to individuals and institutions that see the value of making their biomedical data discoverable, but are not sure on where or how to start"

Lauren Fromont
Centre de Regulacio Genomica

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Twelve quick tips for deploying a Beacon, PLoS Computational Biology, March 2024, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1011817.
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