OMICS 12(2) , 157-60 (Jun 2008)
Increasingly, we are aware as a community of the growing need to manage the avalanche of genomic and metagenomic data, in addition to related data types like ribosomal RNA and barcode sequences, in a way that tightly integrates contextual data with traditional literature in a machine-readable way. It is for this reason that the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) formed in 2005. Here we suggest that we move beyond the development of standards and tackle standards compliance and improved data capture at the level of the scientific publication. We are supported in this goal by the fact that the scientific community is in the midst of a publishing revolution. This revolution is marked by a growing shift away from a traditional dichotomy between “journal articles” and “database entries” and an increasing adoption of hybrid models of collecting and disseminating scientific information. With respect to genomes and metagenomes and related data types, we feel the scientific community would be best served by the immediate launch of a central repository of short, highly structured “Genome Notes” that must be standards compliant. This could be done in the context of an existing journal, but we also suggest the more radical solution of launching a new journal. Such a journal could be designed to cater to a wide range of standards-related content types that are not currently centralized in the published literature. It could also support the demand for centralizing aspects of the “gray literature” (documents developed by institutions or communities) such as the call by the GSC for a central repository of Standard Operating Procedures describing the genomic annotation pipelines of the major sequencing centers. We argue that such an “eJournal,” published under the Open Access paradigm by the GSC, could be an attractive publishing forum for a broader range of standardization initiatives within, and beyond, the GSC and thereby fill an unoccupied yet increasingly important niche within the current research landscape.