Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BIND bought by Thomson Scientific

(via email and Open Access News) Thomson Scientific has acquired Unleashed Informatics the owner of, among other resources, the Biomolecular Interaction Network Database (BIND). In the email announcing the transaction it is claimed that the information will remain freely available:
"We will continue to provide you with open access to BOND — there will be
no change to the way you obtain and use the information you currently
have available — and we will work to ensure that the database remains knowledgeable, up-to-date and within the current high editorial standards."

Hopefully this will mean a better chance of survival for the database. BIND was created in 1998 under the Blueprint initiative, lead by Chris Hogue in Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. It is one of the best examples of the difficulties of financing scientific databases with current grant schemes. In 2005, having burned trough something like $25 million and with a staff of 68 curators, the database started having trouble securing funding to keep up with the costs. Finally in November 2005, the database stopped its curation activities and Unleashed Informatics (a spin-off also created by Chris Hogue) bought the rights to BIND and kept the data available.

In December 2006 Chris Hogue wrote in his blog:
"I am no longer employed by Mount Sinai Hospital and the Blueprint Initiative is now, obsolete. (...) For now I am self-employed as a writer and working part-time at Unleashed Informatics."

According to the public announcement posted in the site of Unleashed Informatics the management team of UI will now be part of Thomson Scientific, so it is possible that Chris Hogue is now heading Unleashed under the safer umbrella of Thomson.

Previous posts regarding BIND and database funding:
BIND database runs out of funding
BIND in the news
Stable scientific databases