Fee waivers for the Wikipedia tutorial at ECCB 2012 – apply now!

The logo of WikiProject Computational Biology, which supervises the coverage of Computational Biology on the English Wikipedia. Based on Fig. 1 of Monnet, C.; Loux, V.; Gibrat, J. F. O.; Spinnler, E.; Barbe, V. R.; Vacherie, B.; Gavory, F.; Gourbeyre, E. et al. (2010). Ahmed, Niyaz. ed. “The Arthrobacter arilaitensis Re117 Genome Sequence Reveals Its Genetic Adaptation to the Surface of Cheese”PLoS ONE 5 (11): e15489. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015489PMC 2991359PMID 21124797. CC BY.


Were you planning to attend the European Conference on Computational Biology this year? It will take place in Basel, Switzerland from September 9-12 and features a rich program that covers recent developments in all corners of the field, including a number of workshops and tutorials being held on the first day.

One of these tutorials is about editing Wikipedia and specifically designed for researchers working in Computational Biology and related fields. Why? Well, what is the first topic that comes to your mind when you think of Computational Biology? What does your favourite search engine deliver for the term? Chances are that the Wikipedia entry for it will feature quite prominently in the results, be they personalized or not.

This means that whoever else is going to search that term will also stumble across that Wikipedia article, which may well become the first point of contact with the topic for your research administrators, prospective students, collaborators from different fields, or even some of the reviewers of your papers, grant proposals or tenure dossiers. Would the article in its present state benefit their understanding of the matter? If so, try another topic. Otherwise, how can you help improve the article, or even start one if it does not exist yet?

Logan, D. W.; Sandal, M.; Gardner, P. P.Manske, M.Bateman, A. (2010). “Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia”PLoS Computational Biology 6 (9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941PMC 2947980PMID 20941386CC-BY.

In the tutorial, Alex Bateman and I will address these issues both in a general manner and by way of concrete examples. We will also provide you with an opportunity to put your hands on Wikipedia – or any of its sister projects, if you prefer – on a Computational Biology topic of your choice.

We can offer up to five fee waivers for the tutorial and will distribute them on an ongoing basis starting August 20. To apply, simply post a comment on this post and explain in a few sentences and up to one link (could be a blog post of yours, in which you can have as many links as you wish) why you should receive the fee waiver, and why it should be partial or full. We are especially inclined to approve requests that signal some initial engagement with Wikipedia, open research or open knowledge more generally. Some ideas for that:

  1. Review an existing Wikipedia article.
  2. Provide some suitably licensed images or multimedia files for the illustration of Wikipedia articles.
  3. Translate an existing Wikipedia article.
  4. Write a blog post on why you think researchers should contribute to Wikipedia or similar collaborative open knowledge projects.
  5. Release the raw data (under CC0) and code (under GPL or BSD) for a paper you have submitted or published.
  6. Release (under CC BY) a grant proposal you have written, whether it got funded or not.
  7. Lay out concrete plans to participate in ISCB‘s Wikipedia Computational Biology Article Competition or to write a manuscript for PLOS Computational Biology in its Topic Pages track.
  8. Free style – whatever comes to your mind as probably appropriate. More risk, more fun.

We reserve the right to split two of these waivers in half, so as to partially support up to four participants. One full fee waiver will be earmarked for a participant willing to arrange for live streaming and video recording of the tutorial, so that remote participation becomes possible. Should that fee waiver still be available on August 27, its earmark shall be removed. Participants who already registered are eligible to apply for a partial refund.

Those of you who do not want to apply are encouraged to comment on the submissions as they come in.

Let the fun begin!

Wodak, S. J.; Mietchen, D.; Collings, A. M.; Russell, R. B.; Bourne, P. E. (2012). “Topic Pages: PLoS Computational Biology Meets Wikipedia”PLoS Computational Biology 8 (3): e1002446.doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002446PMC 3315447PMID 22479174. CC-BY.

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