Saturday, 12 March 2011

Would the closing of SRA affect you?

Short Read Archive Canned

This email apparently from NCBI head-honcho David Lipman was posted in the comments section atTree of Life:
Dear Staff Members of NCBI,
As you are aware, the federal government as well as NIH is facing a period of budgetary uncertainty that is resulting in ongoing program reviews throughout the government.   At NCBI our senior staff have been giving serious consideration to our own projects and staffing levels in order to prepare for and adjust to new fiscal constraints.
NCBI had received a significant adjustment in its appropriated funding in the proposed FY2011 President’s Budget.  The President’s Budget, however, has not been enacted and we are being required to operate at last year’s (FY2010) level under a Continuing Resolution (CR) from Congress.  Upon the CR’s expiration on March 4, 2011, there is little likelihood the budget picture will improve.  The NIH Office of the Director has provided us with stop-gap funding to alleviate some of our FY2011 and FY2012 funding needs.

Wow, big news. And not just because the fact that NCBI is downsizing is a worry in terms of funding priorities – given the ongoing explosion in production of genomics data.
I, like many others, won’t necessarily be sorry to see the back of the Short Read Archive as it was a bit of a pain to upload to and a massive pain to retrieve from.
But the question is now, what will become the de facto place to find short-read data, or pointers to data? Certainly the SRA was useful – particularly for getting data to test bioinformatics applications against.

Kevin: like others, the SRA was a useful place to get demo data for testing software, but moving forward I haven't gone back to SRA (partly as my work takes me away from testing more stuff ) but I think it points to the fact that  raw sequencing data might be too expensive for anyone to archive for long.

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