The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded Phoenix Bionformatics $498,945 to help transition the TAIR database from government support to private support. From the Sloan Foundation’s website (

The sustainability of scientific data repositories is a matter of much concern. One recent success story is the Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR), a plant biology database that shifted from a grant-funded to a community-funded business model through the strategic development of a discriminating paywall that grants free, limited access to many users while requiring a sliding scale paid subscription for full, unlimited access. TAIR Director Eva Huala believes that a more flexible version of this paywall software could enable many other data repositories to develop their own variations on this model. While there are several for-profit startups offering such services, none offer the functionality needed by scientific data repositories, and these repositories appear to be much too small a market to draw those startups’ focus. Funds from this grant will support Phoenix Bioinformatics, the 501(c)3 that runs TAIR, in its efforts to develop a flexible, portable version of its paywall software that could be used by a wide variety of scientific data repositories.

Phoenix Staff
Posted by the Phoenix Bioinformatics staff