A recent PLoS ONE paper by Morgan G. I. Langille and Jonathan Eisen describes a file sharing solution for researchers that claims to allow for rapid and reliable file transfer. Built upon the P2P file sharing technology from BitTorrent (the bane of anyone attempting to make a living from intellectual property), BioTorrents is a website for open access file sharing of large scientific data sets, that also off keyword searches, category browsing, RSS feeds, and a discussion forum. While many P2P websites are shut down due to copyright infringement, BioTorrents aims to be a legal BitTorrent tracker that will host both scientific data and software.
On his blog, Eisen admits that while he is not sure if BioTorrents will be used extensively, the real point is that it "represents something we need more and more of in the "Open Science" movement. We need experimentation with all sorts of methods for improving sharing. The sharing of large electronic files, such as data sets of some kind (e.g., sequences, pictures, mass spec results, etc) are rapidly becoming a major complication in scientific research...Biotorrents could help in this in that sharing files via BitTorrent is very simple and easy."