Biological information has become so abundant and complex in recent years that it is difficult, if not impossible, even for expert individuals to manage in traditional publication formats and with existing knowledge management tools. It is an ongoing challenge for researchers to keep up-to-date on research developments in their fields, and identify relevant research to support their own studies without devoting too much time collecting unconnected information. The Reactome group has recognized this challenge and is developing a set of novel online resources that use features of the electronic media to organize biological information in ways that provide for more efficient access and that allow new forms of analysis that were not possible with information stored in the traditional printed literature.
The Reactome curation process for a pathway is similar to the editing of a scientific review. An external domain expert provides his or her expertise, a Reactome curator formalizes it into the database structure, and a second external domain expert reviews the representation. A system of evidence tracking ensures that all assertions are backed up by the primary literature. Reactome has created data entry software, called the Author and Curator Tools, and associated web services, which provide interfaces in which the pathway authors can systematize their knowledge and a mechanism by which researchers, students, and clinicians can transform the information about interactions between biomolecules into knowledge about a cellular process.
Reactome has evolved into the one of the largest pathway databases, containing over 19000 human and inferred model organism pathways, and is accessed by over 15,000 unique visitors per month all around the world. A key challenge for Reactome is to incentivize the unpaid external domain experts to contribute their expertise and time to the curation process. In the scientific process, the key incentive is credit attribution. While the heavily used Reactome website provides quite high visibility of editorial content, our attribution of contributions is not yet compatible with traditional scientific performance measures of publications and citations. We see ORCID iDs as a key mechanism for credit attribution in a technically straightforward, unambiguous manner that allows integration of scientific activity across different media platforms beyond traditional publications, and thus as a valuable route to increase visibility of the contributions of our external domain experts.
Our project goal is to integrate ORCID iDs into Reactome. This will involve both enhancements to the Reactome data model, database and website by our development team and modifications to our curatorial practices, to integrate ORCID iDs into Reactome. Our goal is to use ORCID iDs to annotate Reactome curators, editors, and expert authors and reviewers.