Beacon and Beacon Network as a Service

The GA4GH Discovery work stream is developing a data discovery platform which includes Beacons and MatchMaker Exchange (MME). To enhance the reusability of scientific data, ELIXIR aims to facilitate making data ‘findable’ (FAIR guiding principles). To date, GA4GH Beacons have been lit for genetic sequencing data that resides in 6 continents. To be of value to the community the scale of genetic sequencing data that is ‘findable’ needs to increase. ELIXIR can bring Europe’s data forward in particular via ELIXIR Nodes but can also develop tools to enable data to be brought forward from anywhere in the world. The endpoint will be that user communities can find data on an international scale and identify appropriate data to then access for research.

The ELIXIR Beacon 2016 and 2017 Implementation studies initiated this work by providing consent-based access to genomic data in the European Genome-phenome Archive and national resources in Finland, Sweden, France and The Netherlands by establishing GA4GH standard based Beacons. The 2017 project developed new features including an ELIXIR Beacon Network and adding security measures that would identify re-identification attempts.

The 2018 project aims evolve the ELIXIR Beacons into a GA4GH Driver project with full alignment to GA4GH Technical Work Streams and consolidate and establish a fully costed process of “Lighting a Beacon” for any ELIXIR Node and deliver Beacon/Beacon Network as an established ELIXIR infrastructure service. It is imperative to continue to synchronize with the GA4GH Beacon project as well as other GA4GH activities and so this plan defines who is responsible for the communication between ELIXIR and GA4GH to ensure strategic partnership is maintained.

This study is broken down into 7 Work Packages: 

  • WP1 - Development of Beacon API specification with the GA4GH
  • WP2 - Supporting new ELIXIR Beacon development and deployment across Europe
  • WP3 - Implementation of an ELIXIR Beacon Network & Registry
  • WP4 - Security of ELIXIR Beacon and Beacon Network
  • WP5 - Developing Indicators to establish Registry and Beacon as an Emerging ELIXIR Service
  • WP6 - Strategic partnerships with national data cohorts and biobanks
  • WP7 - Project Management and Communication

Other Implementation Studies: 

The ongoing work on the Beacon Project is coordinated by the ELIXIR Human Data Community