Proteomics is a key field of modern biomolecular research, with many small and large scale efforts producing a wealth of proteomics data. However, the vast majority of this data is never exploited to its full potential. Even in publicly funded projects, often the raw data generated in a specific context is analysed, conclusions are drawn and published, but little attention is paid to systematic documentation, archiving, and public access to the data supporting the scientific results. It is often difficult to validate the results stated in a particular publication, and even simple global questions like „In which cellular contexts has my protein of interest been observed?” can currently not be answered with realistic effort, due to a lack of standardised reporting and collection of proteomics data.
The Proteomics Standards Initiative (PSI), a work group of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO), defines community standards for data representation in proteomics to facilitate systematic data capture, comparison, exchange and verification. In this article we provide an overview of PSI organisational structure, activities, and current results, as well as ways to get involved in the broad-based, open PSI process.