BACKGROUND: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating disease which involves multiple body systems (e.g., immune, nervous, digestive, circulatory) and research domains (e.g., immunology, metabolomics, the gut microbiome, genomics, neurology). Despite several decades of research, there are no established ME/CFS biomarkers available to diagnose and treat ME/CFS. Sharing data and integrating findings across these domains is essential to advance understanding of this complex disease by revealing diagnostic biomarkers and facilitating discovery of novel effective therapies.
METHODS: The National Institutes of Health funded the development of a data sharing portal to support collaborative efforts among an initial group of three funded research centers. This was subsequently expanded to include the global ME/CFS research community. Using the open-source comprehensive knowledge archive network (CKAN) framework as the base, the ME/CFS Data Management and Coordinating Center developed an online portal with metadata collection, smart search capabilities, and domain-agnostic data integration to support data findability and reusability while reducing the barriers to sustainable data sharing.
RESULTS: We designed the mapMECFS data portal to facilitate data sharing and integration by allowing ME/CFS researchers to browse, share, compare, and download molecular datasets from within one data repository. At the time of publication, mapMECFS contains data curated from public data repositories, peer-reviewed publications, and current ME/CFS Research Network members.
CONCLUSIONS: mapMECFS is a disease-specific data portal to improve data sharing and collaboration among ME/CFS researchers around the world. mapMECFS is accessible to the broader research community with registration. Further development is ongoing to include novel systems biology and data integration methods.