The Importance of Open Source in Bioinformatics

We learned quite a bit during the pandemic – people can be just as productive from their home office as at the office, food can be picked up or delivered with little to no contact, and large-scale health threats can be bring minds together to solve major issues in relation to those threats.

When a group can come together with all the necessary information openly accessible to all, open source becomes more than about open source computer software, but is a promise of open exchange and collaboration.

So, what does this tell us? That not only does open source have a role in the fight against current pathogens but those to come as well. Without making data, tools, and software open to combat these issues in the bioinformatics and life sciences fields, it could be much more difficult and take that much longer to solve these problems. But when information is shared openly, everyone benefits – collaborators, researchers, and community.

The Key to Open Source in Bioinformatics and Beyond

There are always lynchpins that hold new thoughts in place and open source is no different. Everyone benefits from the sharing of data, research, tools, analysis, and more, but a key factor is the large-scale group of scientists both public and private working together. Add to this providers, government entities, health and other institutions, and when all is openly available everyone can see and contribute. Open collaboration is the best way to ensure that new information is collected, analyzed, and saved for future generations and current bioinformatics professionals to safeguard against future of health anomalies.

In an accessible environment, even those who aren’t experts will be able to review and analyze data. And with the addition of biological researchers to consult and translate their findings, more and more projects will be able to help advance and address current and future issues related to human disease.

Why is Open Source Important in Bioinformatics?

The future benefits of open source go well beyond its first incarnation as simply open source software in which anyone could modify the source code. But as a key to unlocking the importance of open source within the bioinformatics and other ‘omics fields such as genomics, epigenomics, proteonimcs, and so on, the versatility and usefulness is as wide and varied as those who might participate for the betterment of mankind.

The benefits far outweigh the limitations, but here are three reasons to consider:

  • Shared information open to all means faster response to solving problems in ‘omics data.
  • Tools are shared on cloud-based software allowing anyone anywhere in the world access to the same information.
  • Training in programming and data processing as well as the ability to speak and understand the languages in terms of both biology and computational science are in high demand.

Are you ready to take the next step in your data profession? Maybe you want to be on the front lines of stopping a pathogen in its wake before it becomes a global pandemic. Perhaps you want to study epigenetics and want to not only contribute your own research but learn from what has been done before. Whatever area within the Life sciences and specifically, bioinformatics, the field is growing, and opportunities abound.

If you’re interested in computational biology, big data, bioinformatics, genomics, or data science just to name a few, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our latest Life Science Analytics jobs or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.

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