This special issue arose as a response to the ongoing proliferation of grass roots, communitydriven international data standardization activities. It is our hope that giving a range of participants in such activities the opportunity to contribute up-to-date descriptions of their efforts will help foster dialogue, raise awareness, and make a call for action on behalf of this rapidly growing community. This issue is not an exhaustive review of activities, but provides a snapshot of a range of activities at different stages of maturity and their growing interactions. It is organized into four groups of papers on data standardization activites in the fields of genomics, the postgenomic technologies of transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics and integrative activites, and other initiatives. Each invited piece contains details of the current status, future prospects, and successes and challenges of these efforts, making this issue a resource for those wishing to track, participate, or conform to any of these standardization activities, as well as those wishing to initiate new activities. In this foreword, we provide a brief background to the practice and methodology being adopted in the development of OMICS standards, review the content of this special issue, and attempt to highlight the growing interactions and synergies between groups. \ud \u
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