News/Long Term Database Funding

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You may have heard about TAIR's funding situation. Basically, their funding is being cut by 25% per year, starting in September 2010, and NSF is encouraging them to find alternative funding sources. This news was sent to the TAIR community (and posted on the Biocurator list) on October 22. A day later the paper "Models for financial sustainability of biological databases and resources" appeared in Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation.

All GMOD users need to give at least some thought to long term funding issues. A discussion thread on long term database funding has now been started on the International Society for Biocuration's (ISB) forum site.

TAIR Funding Update and Discussion Forum

TAIR asked people to do a couple things:

  1. Cite TAIR in publications: as a reference, as a source of data in methods sections, and under acknowledgments.
  2. Contribute to a discussion on the TAIR web site about
    1. the bioinformatics needs of the Arabidopsis and wider plant biology communities and
    2. how resources like TAIR should be funded.

The discussion at TAIR is now 19 pages long and contains mountains of praise for TAIR, and a few suggestions on alternative funding, including subscriptions, international and industrial support, and advertising. It also contains many statements that none of those options will work. The Database paper discusses similar proposals, plus some others.

If you are interested in long-term funding issues, I encourage you to participate in the discussion at ISB. If you use TAIR and want to see it funded, please post a comment at the TAIR web site. And, if you aren't already doing so, make it easy for your users to cite your database by including an easy to find "Citing this resource" link on your site.

Dave Clements

Posted to the GMOD News on 2009/11/06