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Every day, an astonishing amount of data is generated in the life sciences. This is only set to increase in future. By openly sharing these data, the potential to develop new knowledge and foster innovation can be realized. The infrastructure and expertise at SIB are key to enabling the value chain of Open Research Data (ORD), starting with individual projects and leading to grand discoveries. Discover the concrete projects, expertise (e.g. data stewardship), and initiatives which position the institute at the forefront of the topic, from the development of openly accessible tools and databases to collaborative efforts to expand ORD principles across life sciences, and steering the setup of large-scale initiatives such as the SwissBioData ecosystem.

A top national priority

In Switzerland, motions have been set by parliament for legislation to enable the secondary use of data recognizing that its greatest value lies in its almost unlimited potential for reuse. A National open research data Strategy was adopted in 2021. With it came the recommendation that data acquired from publicly funded research should be openly available and adhere to FAIR principles. This also came with an action plan that included a call for proposals for research projects that foster open research data to be granted support. 

Data stewardship, a key expertise for ORD

Ensuring the results of a project aligns with the FAIR principles is a daunting task for life scientists, as it requires significant resources and expertise that are outside the scope of most research projects. The role of data stewards is thus called to play a fundamental part on the way to open research data. These multidisciplinary experts combine a range of skills including in informatics, curation, data management, and training to support researchers in reaching FAIRification goals: explore the projects we enabled over the years by building on these skills. SIB is also participating in the elaboration of a common definition of the role of data stewards in Switzerland, and in the setup of national curriculum, through its Training group.


Considered as a core principle contributing to common knowledge, ORD raises complex legal issues in the management of sensitive and non-sensitive data alike. With its longstanding role in making ORD a reality, for instance as part of its mission for the Swiss Personalized Health Network, SIB has also developed a unique legal know-how on this topic. Read more about the work of our Legal & Technology Transfer team to assess the Swiss legal framework on ORD in a biomedical context. The team has also developed the Open science checklist and the Open research licensing guideline that provide guidance and information on how to disseminate SIB materials (research data, software) as early and widely as possible, and achieve open science goals.


Read our special focus on ORD in the SIB Profile 2023