The ISA Commons moderators are organising a Hack-The-Spec event from 20th to 22th July 2015 at the University of Oxford, as part of the ELIXIR UK Node activities and with the participation of members of the ISA user community, ELIXIR EBI and NL Nodes, FAIRDOMRO and Nanopublicationsgroups. The event is organised thanks to funding from BBSRC UK-China award BB/J020265/1.


ISA stands for Investigation/Study/Assay and refers to the ISA framework, a community-driven metadata tracking framework to facilitate standards-compliant collection, curation, management and reuse of datasets in an increasingly diverse set of life science domains. The ISA framework is also part of the ELIXIR UK node interoperability components of the EXCELERATE project.


The objectives of the event is to focus on the ISA specification as a FAIR research object. We will address the need for an updated design and documentation that enabling for evolutions while maintaining backward compatibility with existing users, partly tools, and conversions to other existing formats.


The specific objectives are:

  1. Revise the ISA specification and prepare a new version (2.0) considering the ISA model (with extensions) and multiple serialisations, including tabular, RDF (see linkedISA, doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-15-S14-S4) and JSON.

  2. Collect and review use cases for extension - What is missing in the current ISA ? Provide use case and tell us why you need it.

  3. Establish implementation guidelines for creating and distinguish between each of the following:

    1. ISA design patterns

    2. ISA configurations

    3. ISA extensions

    4. RO, ISA and nanopublications (see doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127612 )


The confirmed attendees to the event are representative set of ISA users, mainly from China and UK or closely related to some ongoing/new funded projects associated with UK teams

  1. Scott Edmunds (GigaScience)

  2. Peter Li (GigaScience)

  3. Rob Davidson (GigaScience)

  4. Chris Hunter (GigaScience)

  5. Nina Jeliazkova (EU Toxbank, EU eNanoMapper)

  6. Reza Salek (ELIXIR-EBI, MetaboLights, EU Phenomenal)

  7. Ken Haug (ELIXIR-EBI, MetaboLights, EU Phenomenal)

  8. Pablo Conesa (ELIXIR, MetaboLights)

  9. Rob Davey (BBSRC COPO, ELIXIR-UK)

  10. Ralf Weber (ELIXIR-UK)

  11. Norman Morrison (FAIRDOM, ELIXIR-UK)

  12. Marco Roos (Nanopublications, ELIXIR-NL)

  13. Susanna Sansone (EU Phenomenal, BBSRC COPO, ELIXIR-UK)

  14. Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran (EU Phenomenal, BBSRC COPO, ELIXIR-UK)

  15. Philippe Rocca-Serra (EU Phenomenal, BBSRC COPO, ELIXIR-UK)

  16. Alfie Abdul-Rahman (BBSRC COPO)

  17. David Johnson (EU Phenomenal, joining Oxford ISA team from September)

  18. Allyson Lister (BioSharing) - remotely

  19. Egon Willighagen (EU eNanoMapper, ELIXIR-NL) - remotely

  20. Jildau Bouwman (TNO, ELIXIR-NL)  - remotely

Event date: 
Monday, July 20, 2015 - 09:00 to Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 17:00
University of Oxford
United Kingdom