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Ownership of analyses tools and pipelines

article about pipeline ownership
Decorative image of a an analysis pipeline at the top and a person in front of a laptop at the bottom
© COG-Train

Bioinformatics provides tools to catalogue, analyse and manage biological research data and information, through tools like algorithms, databases and software. Accessibility to these tools is essential for the advancement of genomic research and the development of the bioinformatics discipline. It is important for investors and developers of these tools to be acknowledged, ensuring they receive their credit where it is due, which in turn encourages continued innovation and investment.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is a model that ensures the protection of developers and economic incentives for investors. However, conflicts arise with the open and collaborative nature of bioinformatics. Intellectual interactions between the developers and research scientists using these tools or bioinformatics pipelines are essential to the successful reporting of results in publications and warrant the appropriate acknowledgements. If the research involves bioinformaticians that contribute to novel work, insight and advanced data analysis contributing to publications, this requires co-authorship and acknowledgement of the value of the contributor.

Acknowledging the ownership of analysis tools and pipelines is recommended for:

  • Substantive contributions to the research project through its conception, design or the input of original ideas;
  • Acquisition of data, its analysis and interpretation through the use of the tools beyond routine practices;
  • Intellectual contribution to the manuscript through critical delivery of the content, such as the methodology involved in the use of the pipeline.


Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) Recommended Guidelines for Authorship on Manuscripts

Intellectual Property Protection in Bioinformatics and Open Bio Development

What additional means of credit should researchers undertake when acknowledging the ownership of bioinformatics analysis tools and pipelines? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© COG-Train
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