A growing number of patient genomes and related omics data types, such as transcriptomes or single cell analysis, are processed in research and health care initiatives in Germany. GHGA provides a nation-wide resource for archiving, accessing and sharing these data types, which previously has been missing in Germany. By providing a secure home for their data, GHGA enables data controllers to share data safely. GHGA further facilitates discovery and supports the scientific community in maximising the value of omics data in genomic medicine and research. GHGA uses the FAIR principles for data sharing – making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable – whilst meeting Germany’s and Europe’s data protection requirements.
Omics data is currently collected from patients across Germany and beyond, but it has been difficult for researchers to find the data they require, or to safely share the data that they have generated. GHGA will bring these data together, and make them easier to find - enabling researchers to create new cohorts to help validate their findings and may provide opportunities for new and novel Big Data techniques. These opportunities will ignite further biological discovery and will help to translate research findings into the clinical routine, benefitting patients and adding further value to genomic medicine.
As a national consortium, GHGA is able to address the legal and ethical requirements specific to Germany, creating an ethico-legal framework for secure data-sharing. Thereby GHGA will ensure that patient data are secure whilst still being used for research purposes. Through engaging and involving patients and the public, GHGA aims to build trust beyond the scientific community, and to keep patients at the heart of our work.
GHGA's roadmap includes three phases. Following on from the initial archival function, the atlas and cloud phase will see added functionality to the data portal, providing democratic data analysis tools for researchers.