by Pei-Yau Lung, Dongrui Zhong, Xiaodong Pang, Yan Li, Jinfeng Zhang
Reusability is part of the FAIR data principle, which aims to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. One of the current efforts to increase the reusability of public genomics data has been to focus on the inclusion of quality metadata associated with the data. When necessary metadata are missing, most researchers will consider the data useless. In this study, we developed a framework to predict the missing metadata of gene expression datasets to maximize their reusability. We found that when using predicted data to conduct other analyses, it is not optimal to use all the predicted data. Instead, one should only use the subset of data, which can be predicted accurately. We proposed a new metric called Proportion of Cases Accurately Predicted (PCAP), which is optimized in our specifically-designed machine learning pipeline. The new approach performed better than pipelines using commonly used metrics such as F1-score in terms of maximizing the reusability of data with missing values. We also found that different variables might need to be predicted using different machine learning methods and/or different data processing protocols. Using differential gene expression analysis as an example, we showed that when missing variables are accurately predicted, the corresponding gene expression data can be reliably used in downstream analyses.