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Imagine That! - Data Sharing

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - Data Sharing

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Next time you download a tune for your I Pod, wouldn't you rather share an MRI of a brain scan to help cure Alzheimer's?

Imagine that!

Dr. Mark Ellisman has a problem with some research scientists. Traditionally, scientists don't like to share data. His goal is to encourage communicating, analyzing, and comparing of data among scientists, educators, engineers, and even students. To do this, Dr. Ellisman of the University of California, San Diego, has created the Biomedical Informatics Research Network.

Ellisman: "We're creating an environment where data is shared and individuals can go back in and look at all the raw data and see if there's something that they can pull out of it that the originators of the data might not have noticed."

Researchers all over the world can enter their data through a high speed system called Internet2. The data is then plugged into a software that allows scientists to re-examine the results, along with data from other related projects. The hope is that new discoveries will be generated from already obtained data.

Ellisman says the informatics network has students at fourteen universities sharing data -- on projects like early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, for example.

(SOUND: electronic data transmission beeps)

File sharing for science. It's not against the law; it's the neighborly thing to do. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded in part by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally supported research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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