BioCompute Objects (BCO) is a community-driven project backed by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and George Washington University to standardize exchange of High-Throughput-Sequencing workflows for regulatory submissions between FDA, pharma, bioinformatics platform providers and researchers.

The Research Object team, represented by Carole Goble and Stian Soiland-Reyes from the eScience Lab as well as Michael R Crusoe, have been collaborating closely with the rest of the BCO community since 2016, in particular covering the integration of BCO with existing standards like Research Object, W3C PROV and Common Workflow Language.

There is a particular challenge for regulatory bodies like FDA in areas like personalized medicine, as to review and approve the bioinformatics side they need to inspect and in some cases replicate the computational analytical workflow. The challenge here is not just the normal reproducibility thing about packaging software and providing required datasets, but also for human understanding of what has been done, by expressing the higher level steps of the workflow, their parameter spaces and algorithm settings.

The full background and development of the BioCompute Object model is detailed in the recent BCO community paper (doi:10.1101/191783).

Stian Soiland-Reyes’s blog post on BioCompute Objects expands on the relationship between Research Objects and BCOs.