Defending our public biological databases as a global critical infrastructure
In this brief perspective article by Caswell et al,, of various U.S. Department of Energy Laboratories, the topic of mitigating the risks—expected and unexpected—associated with public biological databases is briefly presented, pointing out "several existing research areas that can be leveraged to protect against accidental and intentional modifications and misuse." The authors provide background on the data integrity and vulnerability concerns of these databases, including sources of errors and exploitation of weaknesses in the systems inadvertently or by bad-faith actors. Then they suggest a wide variety of tools, methodologies, and other approaches that are available to gatekeepers of this type of data. They close by comparing these databases to the creation of the internet and its "wide penetration of open functionality" but initial lack of having "integrity and security in mind," stating that now is the time to focus on mitigating risks to the integrity of public biological databases.