The University of Michigan Medical School created the Vaccine Investigation and Online Information Network (VIOLIN) because the vaccine research field lacked a web-based central repository where researchers could easily retrieve the vast amount of data underlying hundreds of years of research. Not only has VIOLIN provided the online database, the database is easily accessible via the VIOLIN API. VIOLIN contributors hope that an open approach to vaccine research will help streamline vaccine research and accelerate discoveries that fight and end infectious diseases:
"VIOLIN is designed to be a vital source of vaccine information and will provide researchers in basic and clinical sciences with curated data and bioinformatics tools to facilitate understanding and development of vaccines to fight infectious diseases."
VIOLIN's current data set includes research on over 3,000 vaccines and covers more than 175 pathogens or non-infectious diseases. The database includes over 24,000 abstracts and more than 10,000 full page documents. Anyone is free to register for access as well as contribute new vaccine information. Since VIOLIN's launch, in 2007, Biomedical researchers around the world have contributed and gleaned critical information needed for vaccine-related research.
The API uses both SOAP and REST protocols. Data is returned in XML format. Developers can make calls by vaccine name or pathogen name. The entire VIOLIN database is available through the API.
At the turn of the 21st century, infectious diseases accounted for 26% of the world's yearly death toll. Vaccines stimulate the immune system and help fight such deadly diseases. With the rise of Big Data analytics, many scientific fields find a bright future in open sourced data to enhance research capabilities and speed discovery. Hopefully, VIOLIN creates the same enthusiasm in vaccine development and infectious diseases will decrease their deadly stake around the world.