Dear members of the ICGC Executive Committee:
Following my email to Lincoln Stein and Tom Hudson dated March 22, 2012 (below) I've been informed that the ICGC EXEC suggested that one member from the EXEC and one member from the Ethics and Policy Committee or International Data Access Committee would be assigned to establish a panel to discuss the ICGC/BioMart matter. Since Tom informed me that I "can be involved with the selection of the panel", i subsequently, provided him with a list of preliminary suggestions. However, since he noted that he "will not be involved in that process", I've decided to present my concerns and suggestions to you directly.
Concerns RE: BioMart Splitting/Renaming/Replacing Decision:
It is important that this decision undergoes a thorough scientific review and that this review is genuinely independent, meaningful and completely transparent since:
1. OICR has spent millions of dollars to continue BioMart development after I brought it to the institute in 2008. It has proved to be a highly innovative, successful and publicized data management solution. It therefore seems absurd to reinvent the wheel, thereby wasting time and public funding to simply remove the BioMart brand from the ICGC.
2. The current BioMart development model supports OICR and ICGC scientists as well as scientific communities in 27 other organizations around the world without any extra effort or funding. Therefore, Lincoln's decision to split/rename/replace BioMart negatively affects a number of scientific organizations outside of OICR/ICGC and therefore it transcends the boundaries of OICR/ICGC and cannot be considered an internal issue.
3. The circumstances surrounding my departure from OICR are very complex. In fact, they have resulted in an independent investigation into the alleged actions of an OICR leader. I am concerned that despite this ongoing investigation, and the seriousness of these allegations, the circumstances of my departure are being publicly alluded to by Lincoln in order to justify the argument to split/rename/replace BioMart.
Concerns RE: Suggested Panel Selection Process:
While I greatly appreciate that the EXEC is taking a number of measures to ensure that an ethical and non-biased decision is made, for the following reasons, I am not certain that the suggestion that has been proposed is ideal:
1. Since Tom Hudson leads the EXEC and Lincoln Stein is a prominent member/leader of other ICGC working groups, I don't think that the EXEC and/or the EPC/IDAC members can be considered truly unbiased.
2. It is critical that the panel consists of individuals with sufficient expertise to deal with this matter. I am not sure if the EXEC and EPC/IDAC members who offered to take part in the selection process have significant knowledge in the matter and are in a position to make the appropriate decision.
Suggestions RE: Panel Selection Process:
1. I will propose a three person panel with appropriate expertise (who may or may not be ICGC members). Needless to say, these will be outstanding scientists with unquestionable integrity and relevant expertise.
2. Tom, Lincoln, the EXEC, the EPC/IDAC, etc. are free to accept or reject my selection.
3. If a panel cannot be agreed upon, or proposed panel members are unwilling to participate, I suggest that the SAB established to guide the ICGC's funding (including the DCC) be the default panel as it is an established and independent body of experts.
4. Once the panel has been established, Lincoln and I will both submit our respective rationals, which explain why our option is better for the scientific community than our counterpart's.
5. The panel will provide the ruling and its justification based on our submissions along with any further necessary information and comments.
6. In the interest of transparency, the names of the panel members, our submissions and the panel ruling/comments are to be made public and submitted to the SAB (unless of course the panel is the SAB).
7. Lincoln is to stop any further development and/or renaming of BioMart until a decision is reached. (Please rest assured that this will absolutely not impact ICGC services as the ICGC portal is still supported by the BioMart software that I released a year ago).
8. All funding applications that refer to the BioMart code base as 'SciMart', 'franchise database', 'ICGCdb', etc. should be revised or put on hold until the matter is resolved.
Arek Kasprzyk, MD, MSc, PhD
On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 1:57 AM, Arek Kasprzyk <[hidden email]> wrote:
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