Why we need a centralized repository for isotopic data

Stable isotopes encode and integrate the origin of matter; thus, their analysis offers tremendous potential to address questions across diverse scientific disciplines (1, 2). Indeed, the broad applicability of stable isotopes, coupled with advancements in high-throughput analy-sis, have created a scientific field that is growing expo-nentially, and generating data at a rate paralleling the explosive rise of DNA sequencing and genomics (3). Centralized data repositories, such as GenBank, have become increasingly important as a means for archiving information, and “Big Data” analytics of these resources are revolutionizing science and everyday life. However, to date a centralized database for the management of isotopic data does not exist. We believe that the absence of such a resource has impeded research progress through the unnecessary duplication of effort, restricted the near-boundless application of stable isotopes, and curtailed the exchange of informa-tion among researchers. The creation of such a central-ized database wouldbemorethanasilofordata; it would be a dynamic resource to unite disciplinary fields andanswerpressingquestions in agriculture, animal sciences, archaeology, anthropology, ecology, medi-cine, nutrition, physiology, paleontology, forensics, and earth and planetary sciences. We believe that a central-ized database for isotopes would accelerate and en-hance such global and multidisciplinary endeavors, thus broaden the reach of isotope science. Here, we—a group of stable isotope scientists, data managers, mu-seum curators, journal editors, and educators—offer a vision for public repository's identity, structure and long-term sustainability.