Fast Transfers Improve Research Data Accessibility for Life Sciences Community

GigaScience publishes big data biological and biomedical sciences studies with high-speed transport from Aspera


GigaScience is an online open-access, open-data life sciences journal, co-published by BGI and BioMed Central, that publishes “big- data” articles covering the full spectrum of biological and biomedical sciences, including fields based on difficult-to-access data such as imaging studies, neuroscience, and systems biology. All of the manuscripts that are accepted and published in the journal focus on the use, analysis, or tool-development for large-scale data sets.

Perceiving a problem with the reproducibility of data-heavy scientific studies, GigaScience set out to provide a solution. With a goal of making research reproducible and reusable, research articles transparent, and large-scale data easily accessible and citable, GigaScience hosts the complete data sets associated with each published article in a comprehensive public database, GigaDB. It further provides each dataset with a ‘digital object identifier,’ which makes it easier for people to locate the files they’re looking for and also provides the means for people to directly cite the data when reusing or reproducing research.

To handle the transfer of such enormous datasets, GigaScience has adopted a suite of software products from Aspera to provide authors, reviewers, and other users with the tools to upload and download all the large data sets that accompany manuscripts at maximum speed.

GigaScience selected Aspera Connect Server to rapidly transfer all the data sets that accompanied submitted manuscripts to the GigaScience database and Aspera Console to manage and monitor the entire end-to-end transfer process.

Authors use Aspera’s free downloadable Connect Web Browser Plug-in to submit manuscript-associated data sets to a private data storage site at GigaScience. Staff reviewers then access the files, using the browser plug-in to download and upload files at high-speed. If a paper is accepted for publishing, the data is then transferred to the journal’s public database, GigaDB, via Aspera, where it is readily available for journal readers to view and download, again using the Aspera Connect Web Browser Plug-in.


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“We wanted a solution that would work for a broad range of people, not just those with technological expertise. Using Aspera, anyone can upload or download data easily.”Laurie Goodman, PhD, Editor-in-Chief