BRISSKit - Biomedical Research Software as a Service
BRISSKit is open source Biomedical Research Software as a Service. We are designing a transformational platform that enables biomedical and translational researchers to securely manage and combine datasets, including for patient cohorts where permitted. We use a suite of open source applications accessed in a browser which make it easier for researchers to manage their studies. Sensitive data is secured and only accessible to those with permission. This includes the identification, selection, engagement and recruitment of suitable subjects for research.
BRISSKit offers the ability to upload, manage, combine and collaborate with datasets in-project using such a secure infrastructure and then enables analytics and reuse. The use of open source tools for common tasks allows researchers to integrate their own more specialized software and analytics expertise using the platform. Researchers can connect the platform to their preferred data source eg pathology data and then export the results to their favourite analysis software such as R based statistical applications, or even modify the in-built applications to suit their needs. This is the beauty of an open source approach!
Using the platform can prevent research groups having to go-it-alone through costly commercial procurement and ensure that there is an alternative to relying solely on ad-hoc spreadsheets. It’s been designed with flexibility and ease of use in mind.
Project Update: August 2015
Following the latest period of Jisc funding commencing in Aug 2014, the BRISSKit project team has been completing the development of a suite of integrated open-source database applications for biomedicine and translational research. The code base will now be made freely available to the community via suitable repositories along with a set of documentation and explanatory materials to support further take up and use with a final release by end Dec 2015.
The development of the project has been funded by HEFCE via Jisc as part of the University Modernisation Fund, which delivered exploratory work and prototypes of new software as service applications.
Building on these earlier phases of investment - Jisc has worked in partnership with the BRISSKit team at the University of Leicester to assess whether the project can be developed into a Jisc service including support for institutional tailoring of the software to fit with the needs of different research projects and the provision of information governance compliance via a secure data centre infrastructure. This work has involved detailed modelling of service functions, operational models and delivery costs as well as substantive market research to understand the level of demand and also the potential to deliver a sustainable service. The conclusion was that there is insufficient current usage and evidence of future uptake to make a managed Jisc service offering viable.
The results noted the open source and commercial tools in place to support research in biomedicine and translational research, and challenges such as the lack of appetite and funding needed to change to new tools and services.
The University of Leicester and other interested parties are actively considering how best to leverage the investment by HEFCE and Jisc in the project to date including the potential to further develop the BRISSKit tools, and to possibly develop a wider user community around these.
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