The Biostar paper has just been published in PLoS Computational Biology. Hurra! 🙂
- Parnell LD, Lindenbaum P, Shameer K, Dall’Olio GM, Swan DC, et al. 2011 BioStar: An Online Question & Answer Resource for the Bioinformatics Community. PLoS Comput Biol 7(10): e1002216. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002216
Biostar is a community for questions/answers for Bioinformatics related queries. It is a good resource to visit if you are a bioinformatician, or if you have a question to ask to a bioinformatician. Browse the site to have an idea of the topics discussed: there it is mostly everything, from ‘What tools/libraries do you use to visualize genomic feature data? ‘ to ‘Where to advertise or find bioinformatics jobs?‘, and much more.
First of all, I would like to thank all the Biostar users. I am very happy of this publication, because this kind of activities (participating to an online technical forum) are very difficult to get acknowledged in the academic world.
Participating to an online forum and help is something that each bioinformatician should do, and that improves the overall quality of scientific research. The discussions on biostar helped hundreds of researchers, and saved time and money to many research projects. However, these types of contributions are very rarely considered by universities when evaluating a curriculum. Writing a 50 upvotes post on Biostar won’t help you at all in getting a faculty position at your university, or in getting a grant, despite the time you may have spent in writing it.
So, let’s hope that the publication of this article will make easier for other resources of the type to be acknowledged in the academic world. I think that between Biostar and other active forums for discussion on Research topic, such as Protocol Online (focused on wet-lab techniques), and SeqAnswers (focused on Next Generation Sequencing), a lot of researchers are getting advantages from this kind of resource. The same fact that the Ten Simple Rules article on Getting Help from Scientific Communities paper that we published a month ago has already gotten almost 5000 visualization, corroborates this fact. Let’s see if the universities and the academic world will learn that contributions to online forums must be encouraged and acknowledged.