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Faster R&D in the Pharma Industry through Re-Use of Critical Data

This blog is the fourth of a four-part series that explores the importance of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles for pharmaceutical companies looking for a data platform to tackle their most critical business problems.

FAIR Data Principles for Pharmas: Re-Usable

Re-use of data is important, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry where things such as experiment data, research findings and publications could be highly important at indeterminate points in the future. Being able to find the data you need to support new research and development of drugs (or to find old data that explains why a previous path to develop a drug has failed) is critical to shortening the time to market.

Many features of MarkLogic that we have talked about in previous entries in this blog post series are also applicable for data reusability. Linked data – building up a network of relationships between data points – is particularly useful when it comes to being able to repurpose information and finding new ways to use existing data, perhaps in ways not originally envisioned when that data was created.

For this blog post, we’ll focus on a few key areas of re-usability, particularly in relation to the FAIR data subpoints. The first of these is data provenance. It’s all well and good for data to be findable, accessible and interoperable, but once we have it, how can we trust it?

Through meticulous recording of metadata using the ‘envelope pattern’, MarkLogic seeks to be able to build this much needed trust in data. It’s possible, at the time of data entry, to record where the data came from, if the source of this data can be trusted, who the author was and where you can go to find the original findings or further information. Also, has the data ever been changed? If so, when, how and by whom?

Another pattern of MarkLogic’s Data Hub is to use Multiversion Concurrency Control. This means that whenever an update is made to a document, the original document is kept, and a new version is created with an incremented ID and new timestamp. This makes it possible to view every single change made to a document and when it happened so nothing is lost.

By having a data platform hosted centrally as a single point of truth, customers are able to re-use their data in all sorts of different end-user applications. From bespoke web applications such as the Pharma Research Hub to BI tools such as Tableau and custom data sheet downloads, the flexibility that MarkLogic offers is a great advantage for pharmaceutical companies looking to tackle their unique business problems.


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Duncan Grant - Solutions Engineer | MarkLogic

Duncan is a Solutions Engineer at MarkLogic with a particular interest in Linked Data, web applications and visualisations. Duncan has a background in web application development, having worked in several UK startups before specialising in Linked Data and enterprise data integration.

Duncan has spoken at meetups and conferences on topics such as graph visualisation, databases, Linked Data and JavaScript development.

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