Medical information commons

Authored by: Mary Anderlik Majumder , Peter D. Zuk , Amy L. McGuire

Routledge Handbook of the Study of the Commons

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138060906
eBook ISBN: 9781315162782
Adobe ISBN:


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In the U.S., the term “commons” is increasingly employed to describe a range of efforts to build large-scale resources containing human data for research, clinical decision-making, and other purposes. For example, in 2016, the National Cancer Institute launched a “Genomic Data Commons” to provide “the cancer research community with a unified data repository that enables data sharing across cancer genomic studies in support of precision medicine” (NCI 2017). The Genomic Data Commons includes a data submission portal, a data access portal, and a variety of tools to support researchers in working with data. Most recently, in 2017, under the umbrella of its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a “Data Commons” pilot with a bioinformatics and data science focus (NIH Data Commons Pilot 2017). Indeed, the power of the term is such that in 2015 a public-private partnership initially known as the “Open Cloud Consortium” was rechristened the “Open Commons Consortium” (OCC 2017).

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