Big data, initially employed to revolutionize business processes, is now making its presence felt among the research and development sectors by providing new potentials to image-based data research. Often called as IDR or Image Data Resource, it is a collaboration between various researchers in what is known as OME or Open Microscopy Environment. Various UK scientists from many research institutes have come to collaborate whose fields range from biology to image processing to big data and computer science. Currently, they are building a public data base where image-based data is being integrated by extracting them from leading journals of the world.
It opens up new possibilities in the domain of big data as it is a unique attempt to aggregate big data and make it sharable. However, what is truly visionary is how primary research is allowed access in this process to aid a huge number of researchers. Not only it provides the perfect tool for science’s next big leap but also ensures that individual researchers can now easily gain knowledge of image data sets and their analyses since these sets are huge, complex and extremely heterogeneous.
Automation is the key
The decisive change that IDR has brought about is that it has connected these dots perfects so that no set seems out of place and they are always available for re-analysis or reproduction if need be. The knowledge bank it is creating from scratch is going to save hours of effort and millions of dollars when pulled together and may also churn up revelations previously unheard of since the amount of biological image now at hand is simply stunning as multiple laboratories and branches of science are coming together to give science a new direction.
While science has always been about collaboration between local communities at a global scale, the newly built datasets goes to show that the motto has never really been a reflection of reality until now, when a journal’s images are no longer lying in its digital repositories. These images, suddenly springing to life, is showing how there are unforeseen patterns and common factors in these vast arrays of data. In fact, IDR is already becoming popular among many sectors.
Revolutionizing drug industry
IDR has tied together important types of images that were previously never linked. For example, the kind of images that are now in connection are super-resolution microscopy, images of digital pathology, time-lapse and high-content screening. As long as these databases are public, IDR combines information from all sectors following protocols and parameters. The exciting factor about IDR is that IDR is much more powerful that individual researchers as well as small research groups which allows an identification of information previously unnoticed. It can be a gene pattern or something else. In fact, genes, for example, can open up new dimensions of research as a gene network is created through this process. This gene network can then be studied to know what genes can do, as there are so many aspects of genes remain yet unexplored. Drug industry and biotechnology have already been looking at this kind of research intently as they believe such research will surely change how medicine is made or viewed. Big data allows a re-calibration in the very process of it as this data is publicly available to the manufacturers as their expertise is also pivotal.