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4th Open PHACTS Community Workshop

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4th Open PHACTS Community Workshop

On April 23, 2013, Posted by , In Community Workshops, By , , With Comments Off on 4th Open PHACTS Community Workshop

Using the power of Open PHACTS (London, UK)

The fourth Open PHACTS Community Workshop was held at Burlington House in London on April 22 and 23, 2013. The Workshop focussed on “Using the Power of Open PHACTS” and featured the public release of the Open PHACTS application programming interface (API) and the first Open PHACTS example apps, ChemBioNavigator and PharmaTrek.

The first day featured talks describing the data accessible via the Open PHACTS Discovery Platform and technical aspects of the API. The use of the API by example applications ChemBioNavigator and PharmaTrek was outlined, and the results of the Accelrys Pipeline Pilot Hackathon discussed.

The second day involved discussion of Open PHACTS sustainability and plans for the successor organisation, the Open PHACTS Foundation. The afternoon was attended by those keen to further discuss the potential of the Open PHACTS API and the future of Open PHACTS.

During talks, especially those detailing the Open PHACTS API, a steady stream of signup requests to the API via were received. The hashtag#opslaunch was used to follow reactions to the workshop on Twitter (see storify), and showed the response amongst attendees to be overwhelmingly positive.


Monday 22nd April 2013

Introduction to Open PHACTS (Lee Harland, Connected Discovery)
An introduction to the Open PHACTS Discovery Platform and project.

Open PHACTS data. What sets us apart? (Christine Chichester, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics)
Outline of the datasets integrated within Open PHACTS and the platform’s concept-based nature.

How does Open PHACTS work? (Paul Groth, VU University Amsterdam)
Architecture of Open PHACTS and the technical benefits this allows.

Open PHACTS API (Paul Groth, VU University Amsterdam)
API key walkthrough, outline of a typical application workflow.

Open PHACTS API Use Example: ChemBioNavigator (Marcus Gastreich, BioSolveIT & Tim Harder, University of Hamburg)
Public release of the ChemBioNavigator and outline of its API use.

Open PHACTS API Use Example: PharmaTrek (Jordi Mestres, Consorci Mar Parc de Salut de Barcelona)
Discussion of PharmaTrek’s use of the Open PHACTS API. (demo video)

Open PHACTS API Use Example: Accelrys Hackathon (Stefan Senger, GlaxoSmithKline)
Illustration of how Pipeline Pilot allows access to the Open PHACTS API. Presentation of components and workflows already created.

Tuesday 23nd April 2013

The Open PHACTS Vision: An Open PHACTS Ecosystem (Lee Harland, Connected Discovery)
The aims of Open PHACTS and the unique service it provides.

Open PHACTS Business and Sustainability (Richard Kidd, Royal Society of Chemistry)
Outline of the planned Open PHACTS sustainability model.

Open PHACTS: An Academic Researcher’s Perspective (Gerhard Ecker, University of Vienna)

Open PHACTS: An Industrial Researcher’s Perspective (Stefan Senger, GlaxoSmithKline)

Scientific Lenses: Supporting alternative views of the data (Alasdair J G Gray, University of Manchester)

Breakouts with application builders and developers


A wide range of organisations were represented at the Community Workshop. Publishers such as Elsevier, Thomson Reuters and Nature Publishing Group were joined by software providers Accelrys, ChemAxon, Dotmatics and IBM. European technology startups Digital Science and Ontoforce were to be found seated alongside attendees from North America from The National Institutes of Health and Carleton University. The variety of organisations represented during the two days highlights the far-reaching appeal of the Open PHACTS Discovery Platform.

Please find here the full list of 4th Community Workshop attendees.



The Community Workshop was well attended and the overall response was very positive about the progress made by the Open PHACTS project. The significant number of signups for API keys during and after the workshop was indicative of the enthusiasm amongst attendees for the Open PHACTS API – helped especially by Paul Groth’s API walkthrough.

An attendee from Dotmatics, Dan Ormsby, incorporated use of the Open PHACTS API into an existing app during the API talk, showing the API to be easily accessed and intuitive to use. Breakout discussions in the afternoon of the second day highlighted the eagerness of many community members to start using the API or to become further involved with the Open PHACTS Discovery Platform.

Useful Resources

Open PHACTS Explorer
Open PHACTS Repository
API Launch on Twitter

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