The National Cancer Institute's Center for Bioinformatics and Information Technology launched the caBIG® (cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid®) initiative in 2004 to mobilize digital capabilities for researchers in order to accelerate scientific discoveries.
Since that time, caBIG® has worked with the biomedical community – through working groups, community events, and online networking – to develop and disseminate a portfolio of resources including tools, grid infrastructure, vocabularies, policies, publications, data portals, training, knowledge centers, and service providers.
The vision of the caBIG® program is enhanced cancer research that leverages state-of-the art digital capabilities.
Mission and Goals
The mission of the caBIG® program is to steward access to digital capabilities essential to enhancing researchers' capacity to utilize biomedical information.
The goals of caBIG® are:
- Widespread dissemination and use throughout the cancer community of community-driven, pre-competitive open source standards for data exchange and interoperability in cancer research.
- Robust academic community developing, maintaining, enhancing, and disseminating their innovative biomedical informatics capabilities.
- Dynamic involvement of researchers to identify and prioritize biomedical informatics needs in cancer biology and clinical research, as well as requirements for interoperability.
- Widespread, sustainable availability of critical standards-based, interoperable academic/commercial biomedical capabilities.
- Large and diverse cancer research data sets sustainably available for analysis, integration, and mining.
Since its inception, caBIG® has committed to the following principles:
Open Access: Participation in caBIG® and products delivered by caBIG® are open to all, enabling widespread access to tools, data, and infrastructure for the cancer research community.
Open Development: Software development projects are assigned to particular participants, but are informed iteratively with multiple opportunities for review, comment, further modification, and development by the caBIG® community throughout the planning, testing, validation, and deployment phases. Those wishing to help develop caBIG® applications can join upcoming meetings through the caBIG® Workspaces and Special Interest Groups.
Open Source: The software code underlying caBIG® tools developed with the support of the NCI is available to software developers for use and modification. The software is licensed as open source to promote the reuse of existing code, hence optimizing the full benefit of the research dollars spent. Nonetheless, caBIG® recognizes the need for and importance of commercial software to the biomedical enterprise, and accommodates it through caBIG® interfaces. The open source license is industry-friendly, allowing commercialization of derivative products and fostering industry interest and innovation, while still adhering to the principle of open source for caBIG®-funded activities.
Federation: caBIG® software and standards enable local organizations, such as cancer centers, to share data resources with the larger cancer care and research community and to use resources contributed by others. On the grid, these resources can be aggregated from multiple sites to appear as an integrated research dataset, while the individual resources remain under the control of the local organizations.