Pistoia Alliance to develop Elsevier unified data model


Netherlands-based Elsevier has confirmed that it is donating its unified data model (UDM) to The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that supports research and development in life sciences.

Elsevier is an information and analytics company that specialises in science and health.

Originally developed by the Dutch company, UDM is an XML file format designed to improve the upload of external data sets into its tools.

The file format will be developed and extended under the supervision of The Pistoia Alliance with an aim to publish an open and freely available format for the storage and exchange of drug discovery data.

This will make UDM a common model that would enable data to be easily shared and integrated between parties, thereby strengthening drug discovery research and overcoming a shared barrier to collaboration.

The Pistoia Alliance president Dr Steve Arlington said: “Life science companies have traditionally developed their own internal infrastructures, which results in a duplication of efforts and in systems that are not interoperable.

"Collaboration between stakeholders will underpin the future of the life science industry, and overcoming these kinds of barriers is why The Pistoia Alliance was formed."

“Collaboration between stakeholders will underpin the future of the life science industry, and overcoming these kinds of barriers is why The Pistoia Alliance was formed.

“This project will contribute to reducing the time it takes the industry to develop new therapeutics; we encourage our members to become involved in the development of the UDM and create a standard that helps move research forward.”

The UDM is based on a well-documented domain model providing a minimum information model for the implemented experiment types.

A single organisation cannot develop an industry standard by itself.

The UDM model can be used as a ‘starting point’ for informatics systems that are created by both life sciences companies and software vendors, offering a standard platform for deploying experimental business rules and protocols.

The UDM steering committee, which includes Elsevier representatives, will create open data standards for experimental information about compound synthesis and biological testing.

This will help support research projects and collaboration initiatives within and between organisations, and will also reduce the costs related to such efforts.

In 2013, Elsevier jointly developed the UDM file format with Roche.