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twoday.net AGB

Funding for the BIND data base running out

The home page of the BIND database now carries a grave statement from its PI, Chris Hogue, which explains that their last dollar was spent on November 16th and that the last thing the team will do is to maintain the status quo of the web servers. BIND is a database collecting protein-protein interactions, hosted by the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Many smaller databases face the same problem - the Postdoc or grad student on the project leaves and funding is hardly ever available for the development of a database, let alone for maintenance. Competition from larger institutions such as NCBI or the EBI often spoil the efforts of many years of development.

However, BIND is not a small databasea and lists more than 100 programmers and curators and received CDN 29$ in public funding in 2003. I have to admit that I never quite understood why one would need such a major effort for a database of protein-protein interactions and can imagine why a project of this size is challenged by other scientists.

BIND is not the first data major database to run out of funding. The situation was similar for the GDB which lost funding in 1998. It was transferred from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore to the The Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto and subsequently to RTI. The most important database running out of funding was probably Swissprot in 1999(?), which both managed to commercialize its data (thanks to the New Economy biotechs which floated at that time) and attracting support from the EBI.
Chris Hogue selected a few editorials papers covering the situation in the media and promises to continue to report on the situation in his blog.

[Via public rambling]
Stew (guest) - 2005-11-22 11:10

BIND / Blueprint

The Blueprint people wrote and maintained Seqhound too, I guess. Some of those programmers must be involved in that.

I remember Seqhound being talked up a lot at ISMB last year and while it has some nice features (SOAP and web form interfaces, it's cross platform etc) it was still, um, yet another bioinformatics API... from a funding point of view it must be hard to compete with the bio* APIs which are developed for "free".

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