Our data research in global health informatics aims to improve access, representation, and interoperability of data produced by health agencies and researchers working in global health. A vast amount of data is being created in global health and these data are of incredible value for research and innovation towards healthier lives. These data are often not accessible to researchers or practitioners due to a wide range of barriers. We found six main barriers that limit data sharing in public health: technical, economic, incentives, political, ethical, and legal barriers, published in BMC Public Health.Our global health informatics research aims to overcome these challenges. Specifically, our research is directed to improve compliance of global health data with FAIR guidelines through three main activities.
1. Standardize data about diseases and their determinants
Much global health data is being collected, but these data are often not available in a standard format. We developed the Project Tycho standard data format and will continue to improve this format to meet the needs of most users in global health. Standardization is key to make data interoperable and re-usable.
2. Create machine-interpretable metadata
Metadata are essential to improve FAIR compliance of global health data. Multiple metadata formats are already available to describe global health data. We use the DATS metadata format developed by the bioCADDIE DataMed project and the DataCite XML metadata format to describe Project Tycho datasets.
3. Make data widely available to users
To maximize re-use of data to improve global health, we make our standardized datasets freely available to researchers, practitioners, students, and any other interested users, for any non-commercial use. Our informatics research aims to improve our graphical user interface, to enable user data analytics and visualizations, and to optimize our application programming interface (API) so users can programmatically extract and use Project Tycho data.