biotoolsSchema: a formalized schema for bioinformatics software description

Jon Ison*, Hans Ienasescu, Emil Rydza, Piotr Chmura, Kristoffer Rapacki, Alban Gaignard, Veit Schwämmle, Jacques van Helden, Matúš Kalaš, Hervé Ménager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Life scientists routinely face massive and heterogeneous data analysis tasks and must find and access the most suitable databases or software in a jungle of web-accessible resources. The diversity of information used to describe life-scientific digital resources presents an obstacle to their utilization. Although several standardization efforts are emerging, no information schema has been sufficiently detailed to enable uniform semantic and syntactic description-and cataloguing-of bioinformatics resources.

FINDINGS: Here we describe biotoolsSchema, a formalized information model that balances the needs of conciseness for rapid adoption against the provision of rich technical information and scientific context. biotoolsSchema results from a series of community-driven workshops and is deployed in the bio.tools registry, providing the scientific community with >17,000 machine-readable and human-understandable descriptions of software and other digital life-science resources. We compare our approach to related initiatives and provide alignments to foster interoperability and reusability.

CONCLUSIONS: biotoolsSchema supports the formalized, rigorous, and consistent specification of the syntax and semantics of bioinformatics resources, and enables cataloguing efforts such as bio.tools that help scientists to find, comprehend, and compare resources. The use of biotoolsSchema in bio.tools promotes the FAIRness of research software, a key element of open and reproducible developments for data-intensive sciences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGigaScience
Volume10
Issue number1
ISSN2047-217X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27. Jan 2021

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