DataOnTools #2: Tool development and collaboration worldwide

Bioinformatics tools are developed by research laboratories, university, and private companies that often publish their work in scientific journals. In fact, nearly 80% of all tools registered on omicX have a PMID, and thus are accompanied with a scientific publication. By tracking authors affiliations, we provide a unique perspective on worldwide tool development and collaboration between countries.


Tool development worldwide


Tool development and publication is dominated by the USA, with 30% of published tools originating from US institutions (Figure 1a and b).


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Figure 1. Tool development worldwide. (a) Number of tools published per countries (top 20). (b) Color-coded world map representation of the number of tools produced per country.


Most leading tool-developing institutions are hosted by European and American continents, with 18 out of the top 20 tool-developing institutes and universities located in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, or rest of Europe (Figure 2).


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Figure 2. Top funding agencies. Number of published tools by funding institutions (top 20).

Collaborations for tool development


Scientific research relies heavily on collaborations between international institutions. Similarly, publications of bioinformatics tools often result from collaborations. In our database, a total of 5063 published tools are affiliated with more than one unique country. This translates into approximately 22% of tools developed through an international collaboration.


To let you dive into these complex data, figure 3 (available online) represents the networks formed by the top 40 collaborative pairs of countries. Clicking on a country displays all networks associated with this country.


The USA interacts widely, participating in the highest number of collaborations, distributed between the UK (17.3%), China (16.8%), Germany (12.3%), and the rest of Europe and Asia. In contrast, the USA represents the vast majority (74%) of China’s collaborations for tool development. This analysis also highlights interesting parameters that potentially play a role in promoting collaboration between countries, such as geographical proximity (Australia and China) and common spoken languages (France and Switzerland, Austria and Germany).


collaboration tool development omictools
Figure 3. Collaborations for tool development. Network formed by the top 40 paired collaborations for tool publications. Available online at omicX.


In addition to displaying top countries interactions, the figure lets you represent top cities and top labs/Institutes collaboration networks, for all categories or by specialized fields (Genomics, transcriptomics, etc.).