Case Studies/Sage Bionetworks - Sage Commons

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biology, biological network models, disease


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Sage Commons is a public resource and information platform for scientists, research foundations, and research institutions to share and develop human disease and biological research.

Our goal is ambitious. We want to take biology from a place where enclosure and privacy are the norm, where biologists see themselves as lone hunter-gatherers working to get papers written, to one where the knowledge is created specifically to fit into an open model where it can be openly queried and transformed. — Stephen Friend, President/CEO/Co-founder of Sage Bionetworks (


Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit medical research organization. Sage Bionetworks is building Sage Commons, a public resource and information platform for scientists, research foundations, and research institutions. The purpose of the Commons will be "to share research and development of biological network models and their application to human disease and biology. It will consist of very large network datasets, tools and models organized within conventions governing user participation."

License Usage content is defaulted under CC BY. Sage Commons will enable the CC0 public domain dedication as an option for surrendering copyright in data hosted in the network.

The SageCite project, driven by UKOLN, the University of Manchester, and the British Library, and funded by JISC, is set to develop and test an entire framework for citation norms, not attribution, using bioinformatics as a test case.


From the project background:

"Genomic innovation is enabled at its root by the public domain nature of the raw sequences. Human disease biology is a result of the interplay of regulatory models and the perturbations rather than cumulative linear data arrays. We believe that the best way to evolve necessarily crude initial models is to have them nurtured by a contributor network that will evolve into an engine of human disease model building. Sage and its partners are not government agencies and thus their work does not fall de facto into the public domain or into government-funded databases and repositories.

We have created the Sage organization to serve as the steward of the data and associated systems. The data will be accessible and usable by scientists worldwide interested in understanding disease because we are placing all the Sage resources into a digital commons."