The Database Center for Life Science (DBCLS) was established as a part of the Research Organization of Information and Systems (ROIS) in April 2007, to function as a center of excellence in life science database integration.
Life science has become to deal with life and general life phenomena, moderately linking a number of different fields such as basic biology, medical science, pharmaceutical science, agricultural science, biotechnology, bioinformatics, and other areas. From the late 1990s, the rapid growth of genome and post-genome projects has generated a large amount of information on DNA and protein sequences and respective functional data, gene expression or polymorphism data associated to disease and bibliographic data. Such information all of which is related to life science is stored in various and independent databases and it is not an exaggeration to say that the knowledge in life science is contained inside databases. Therefore, it is critical to make good use of databases in order to advance life science research.
However, users often are dissatisfied with such databases claiming that they “cannot find or access the databases that fulfill the needs”, “do not understand how to use the databases”, or “cannot combine multiple databases for a more sophisticated analysis”. Other problems arise when databases constructed as part of large and small national projects are not widely accessible or can no longer be maintained and virtually disappear when the projects are over. In reality, these issues cannot be solved without addressing institutional issues such as, clearing/protecting the rights for the data and outcomes of a project and creating guidelines and policies on how to handle personal information derived from clinical research.
As a specialized agency for life science database services, it is our mission to integrate and preserve databases (especially the domestic ones), develop information technology that is user-friendly and develop and provide a portal website of life science databases. In addition to these research and development, we will tackle institutional issues that surround the life science databases. As a part of this mission, DBCLS/ROIS had carried out the “Integrated Database Project” funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (FY2006 – FY2010) as a core institution together with 15 other Japanese universities and research institutions. For FY2011 – FY2013, DBCLS/ROIS has been appointed for the “Program Concerning Technology Development for Database Integration” as a part of the “Life Science Database Integration Project” conducted by the National Bioscience Database Center/Japan Science and Technology Agency. With accomplishment of these project/program, we promote research and development to realize the integration of life science databases.