Biostar paper published!

The Biostar paper has just been published in PLoS Computational Biology. Hurra! 🙂

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.

One Comment

  1. Many of my same sentiments, Giovanni. It was a pleasure to work with you and the nine other co-authors in writing, editing and see the BioStar manuscript through to publication.

    I especially agree with your comments on community involvement and rewards. It is good to help and to receive help. This is especially true for me as the single computational biologist in the institute where I work. Rewards are few, as you mention, but perhaps by making contacts through BioStar more substantial rewards will come. Certainly those who received help from the many of us who regularly answer questions have seen their research (or homework) completed or moved forward.

    Let us not forget the contribution from PLoS Computational Biology. Without their interest, we would have found difficulty in seeing this rather unique article published.

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