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Sarah C. Williams
Life Sciences Data Services Librarian
scwillms@illinois.edu
(217) 333-8916

Science: Biology's Dry Future

Oct 31, 2013

"Biology's Dry Future," published in Science (11 October 2013, DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6155.186), discusses the increasing role of publicly available data in making biological discoveries.  The article highlights medical, agricultural, and computational scientists who have built their research on publicly available data.  It also highlights big data initiatives in the biological sciences, such as the NSF-funded iPlant Collaborative and the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative.  The article acknowledges the challenges of "dry lab biology," including a lack of common standards, differences in experimental design, and privacy concerns.  While "dry lab biology" will not replace traditional "wet lab biology," the two approaches can complement each other to advance biological discoveries.