NMDC Ontology Workshop

October 21-24, 2019, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The NMDC hosted a workshop on October 21-24, 2019 to understand how data standards are supporting the microbiome sciences. We hosted over 50 attendees with expertise in microbiome research, data standards, genome annotation, bioinformatics, and community engagement. The workshop goals were to review how standards are currently used, explore approaches for improving community adoption of and compliance with standards, build consensus around the importance of metadata, and establish a network of key stakeholders to advocate for standards across their organizations and communities.

Key Takeaways

Workshop participants discussed shared challenges and brainstormed ways to address them, then the provided recommendations below, which the NMDC is working to support.

Encourage a culture that shares microbiome data, by:

  • Establishing Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to enable dataset citations.
  • Hosting data analysis competitions to support FAIR data training for early career researchers.
  • Celebrating the value added by impactful meta-analyses.
  • Establishing comprehensive and coordinated data management plan(s) in collaboration with funders, publishers, and research services centers.
  • Providing training for a variety of learning styles.
  • Establishing a certification of “compliance”.

Understand and reduce barriers to data submission, by:

  • Understanding how communities are currently using MIxS packages.
  • Exploring ways to harmonize data submission processes across platforms.
  • Validating sample metadata with immediate, informative feedback.


Toolbox Dialogue Initiative NMDC Report

  • The workshop opened with the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI), who led several exercises to prepare participants for the workshop topics and for open, respectful dialogue. After the workshop, the TDI provided a set of recommendations for the NMDC team, which included: define “open science,” give credit for sharing well-curated datasets, work with communities to incentivize data sharing, acknowledge that this work will evolve, and continue engaging with the community.

Attendee List

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