A great new service has just been launched called BioTorrents, which allows scientists to rapidly share their results, datasets, and software using the popular BitTorrent file sharing technology. Here’s the abstract from the paper BioTorrents: A File Sharing Service for Scientific Data published on PloS ONE:
The transfer of scientific data has emerged as a significant challenge, as datasets continue to grow in size and demand for open access sharing increases. Current methods for file transfer do not scale well for large files and can cause long transfer times. In this study we present BioTorrents, a website that allows open access sharing of scientific data and uses the popular BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing technology. BioTorrents allows files to be transferred rapidly due to the sharing of bandwidth across multiple institutions and provides more reliable file transfers due to the built-in error checking of the file sharing technology. BioTorrents contains multiple features, including keyword searching, category browsing, RSS feeds, torrent comments, and a discussion forum. BioTorrents is available at http://www.biotorrents.net.
Not only is this great news for scientists, but I can see this being a great source of inspiration for artists seeking data for visualisations, mash ups etc…