It was tremendously gratifying to work with the 36 participants who attended last month’s Information Ecosystem Workshop in Hannover. The discussion was enthusiastic and focused, and efforts are currently underway to prioritize the many ideas (over 30) generated at the meeting into viable project workstreams. You can get an idea of what was discussed at the IES workshop page on our website, which contains links to presentations and notes from the meeting.
One of the key themes at the meeting was standards. Although the Pistoia Alliance focuses on the broader theme of improving business processes, we fully recognize and acknowledge that standards are of critical importance in our industry. The participants at the Information Ecosystem Workshop pointed out several ways that a Pistoia Alliance standards working group could be useful. Such a group could collect together needs and use cases to identify areas where there’s a critical mass calling for a “standard” approach to, for instance, exchanging data between systems or querying systems. Several proposals of this type were raised during the meeting; a standards working group could vet these ideas to determine those most compelling and ubiquitous.
Additionally, a standards working group could monitor and track the work of other standards organizations to determine efforts that already exist or that overlap or complement needs identified by the Pistoia Alliance community. Such activity would enable the Pistoia Alliance to serve as a standards clearinghouse that could signpost ongoing work on particular standards and perhaps even endorse those standards that most effectively meet needs described in Pistoia Alliance use cases.
Finally, if a compelling need is identified and the standards working group finds that no work is occurring externally to develop a standard that meets that need, the group could suggest that a Pistoia Alliance project be initiated to fill the gap.
If you’re interested in following this discussion or participating in a Pistoia Alliance standards working group, email Executive Director John Wise for an invitation to the next meeting of the Information Ecosystem Workshop participants on 1 December. Or leave us a comment and let us know where you think standards are needed to facilitate activities in modern life science R&D.