The BioCompute Standard

Because of the many different ways to organize data, a major goal of the BioCompute project is to build and maintain a formal standard through recognized, accredited standards setting organizations like the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). A formal, consensus-based standard builds predictability and even more stability into the way in which bioinformatic methods are communicated.

The standard, officially known as 2791-2020, has two parts: the standards document and the schema, which is maintained in an open source repository:

  • The current version of the standard can be found here.
  • The schema can be found here.

Since the base BioCompute schema is maintained as an open source repository, it can be cloned and integrated into an organization in unique ways, which allows organizations to build off of this schema to create dependent standards for specific applications. This is similar to the different versions of WiFi based on usage, such as the 802.11a standard for fast speed, but high cost and shorter range, or the 802.11b for slower top speed, but lower cost, etc. — all of which are built on the 802.11 base standard. It can also be used to further extend the schema, such as for handling proprietary, internal content, while still being compatible with the base standard. The open source schema also enables individuals or organizations to suggest changes to be incorporated into future versions the standard.