Database Commons: A Catalog of Worldwide Biological Databases

Recently, researchers from the Beijing Institute of Genomics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (China National Center for Bioinformation) have developed and released Database Commons—a catalog of worldwide biological databases. This work was published with the title “Database Commons: a catalog of worldwide biological databases” in the journal Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics.

Biological databases enable handling the data deluge and serve as a global fundamental infrastructure for the worldwide scientific community, dramatically increasing the pace to transform big data into knowledge discovery and driving significant innovations in life, medicine, and health sciences. As biological databases continue to increase in size and importance, it is yet unknown how many biological databases are there in the world, which institutions and countries are heavily involved, and what is their impact on biomedical research.

To build a catalog of worldwide biological databases, researchers from Beijing Institute of Genomics, in collaboration with European Bioinformatics Institute, Quaid-i-Azam University, and other universities/institutions, curated a total of 5825 biological databases from 8931 publications (as of 20th September 2022). These databases are geographically distributed in 72 countries/regions and developed by 1975 institutions. For each database, 31 annotation items of 4 modules including general information, classification & tag, contact information, and publications, are curated. Importantly, the researchers also devise the z-index, a novel index to characterize the scientific impact of a database and to rank all these biological databases as well as their hosting institutions and countries in terms of citation and z-index. Consequently, the researchers present a series of statistics and trends of worldwide biological databases, yielding a global perspective to better understand their status and impact for life and health sciences. An up-to-date catalog of worldwide biological databases as well as their curated meta-information and derived statistics is publicly available in Database Commons.

Database Commons has been frequently updated and enriched since its inception in 2015. The ranking results and the functionalities have been generally approved by both database developers and the users. As of 19th January 2023, more than 660,000 users from 193 countries/regions have visited Database Commons for over 1.55 million times (statistics from 23th April 2018). Database Commons has been recommended by Nucleic Acids Research Database Issue, Cell Press, and Bioinformatics Advances, to provide useful registries of biological databases.


The landscape of worldwide biological databases (as of 20th September 2022,image by NGDC)


Dr. MA lina
Dr. ZHANG zhang