Rhea, Reactome and Cellosaurus acquire ELIXIR’s highest quality label for databases

An image of a hand supporting the three new ELIXIR Core Data Resources: Cellosaurus, Rhea and Reactome

In December 2020, Rhea, Reactome and Cellosaurus became ELIXIR Core Data Resources, receiving ELIXIR’s highest quality, sustainability and reliability label for databases.

Becoming a Core Data Resource

ELIXIR utilised an independent panel of reviewers to scrutinise and evaluate all candidate Core Data Resources. With all three databases making their way into the select list, they prove they have reached several excellence indicators:

  • Scientific focus and quality of science
  • Community served by the resource
  • Quality of service
  • Legal and funding infrastructure, and governance
  • Impact and translational stories

Understanding the impact on users and funders

Worldwide, the number of databases is rapidly increasing, faster than the funding available to sustain them. With hundreds of active databases in Europe alone, funders are left with a complex task when considering their investment options. Users also want confidence in public databases to know that the resource is high-quality and will be available for a long time. 

ELIXIR Core Data Resources aim to address these needs. They have three fundamental purposes: offer those databases more visibility, thus supporting their sustainability, and give users confidence in picking trustworthy ones.

‘From our perspective, being an ELIXIR Core Data Resource is certainly helping to obtain national funding to take the resource forward with new features’, said Christine Orengo (UCL) referring to an ELIXIR Core Data Resource selected in 2017, CATH.

Appreciating its global influence through the Global Biodata Coalition

Being included on the list increases the likelihood of databases achieving long-term support. The ELIXIR Core Data Resource list acts as an indicator, a benchmark in Europe — and globally.

The Global Biodata Coalition (GBC), a non-profit forum of research funders, aims to aid research funders to ensure the long-term sustainability of life science databases. As part of this effort, the GBC plans to adapt and expand the ELIXIR Core Data Resources process. The coalition aims to identify a set of Global Core Data Resources to provide funders with a better overview of key biodata resources in the global resource infrastructure.

About the resources


Cellosaurus, a SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (ELIXIR-CH) database, aims to describe all cell lines used in biomedical research.


Rhea, another SIB resource, is a database of chemical transformations and transport reactions of biological interest, based on the ChEBI dictionary of small molecules. Rhea is the standard for enzyme and transporter annotation in UniProt.


Reactome aims to provide intuitive bioinformatics tools for the visualisation, interpretation, and pathway knowledge to support basic research, genome analysis, modelling, systems biology and education. It is a collaboration between EMBL-EBI, OICR, NYULMC, and OHSU

About ELIXIR Core Data Resources

The ELIXIR Core Data Resources serve as a mark of the highest quality in infrastructure service provision and play a critical role in the long-term preservation of life science data.

Mon 11 January 2021