Is Reanalysis Of Public Domain Data Acceptable?
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12.1 years ago
Hranjeev ★ 1.5k

I'm relatively new in this area. Is there instances where published public domain data is reanalysed similar to its original context and reported? Are such papers accepted by well known journals?

As technology and our understanding improves we can generate more information but are there any interest to reanalyse published data? How about ethics? Bioinformatics allows this oppurtunity to analyse or extend existing pool of knowledge but I haven't seen much people out there except those involved in large scale projects/collaborations. Please share your experiences or any papers that are relevant.

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i recently visited a bioinformatics conference where one speaker claimed (handwaving of course) that public genome data is only analyzed to a few %. i think it is actually essential that people re-analyze public data. with sequencing costs going through the floor, many projects will sequence and post all the data even if their particular project only demanded a small analysis of part of the contained information. so there's a lot to work with!

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perhaps reanalysis is not the right term. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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12.1 years ago

Public data is re-used in new publications in a variety of ways, so I would say this is one of the core features of bioinformatics. Of course, the data should then be used either:

  • to correct old features, or
  • to show new characteristics.

I would say the latter has much more chances of being published, except if the corrections are substantial.

Just for fun, and because I think public data is very important for the development of the bioinformatics field, I will quote what one of my previous advisors would say: "Of course most of what we do should be called 'parasitic bioinformatics'. After all, we keep using public data -- generated by other people -- to answer our own questions!"

I could give you an enormous list of papers re-analysing public data :-)

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12.1 years ago
Neilfws 49k

Reanalysis of public data is most certainly acceptable and to be encouraged. How else can the research community detect and correct errors?

An example from structural biology: PDB_REDO, which attempts to refine and improve structures from the Protein Data Bank. Worth reading: New protein structures replace the old, where we learn that the original submitters are not always grateful :)

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12.1 years ago
Davy ▴ 410

So long as you are answering a question no-one has asked before, or providing a novel answer to an old question, if your methods are valid, which of course includes utilising public data, then go for it!

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