OBF accepted as a mentoring organisation for Google Summer of Code 2018

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation has been accepted as a mentoring organisation for the 2018 instance of the Google Summer of Code. OBF is acting as an umbrella for ten bioinformatics Open Source projects, making it possible to offer a very diverse set of student projects.

Are you a student and interested in applying for any of the projects? The student application period is open from March 12th through 27th from the official GSoC website. See the full timeline for details. Feel free to contact the mentors of projects you are interested in already, though.

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GCCBOSC 2018: A Bioinformatics Community Conference – Call for Abstracts


We are pleased to announce that abstract submission and early registration for GCCBOSC2018 are now open. This event brings our annual Bioinformatics Open Source Conference and the Galaxy Community Conference together into a unified week-long event. If you work in open source life science or data-intensive biomedical research, then there is no better place than GCCBOSC 2018 to present your work and to learn from others.
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OBF Travel Fellowship – Coding in the Winter Wonderland: Galaxy Admin Training in Oslo, 2018

This blog post is syndicated from a post on Arun Decano’s blog, originally published Feb 1, 2018. Arun was supported by the ongoing OBF travel fellowship program to attend a Galaxy Admin Workshop held in Oslo, Norway Jan 7-14, 2018.

The OBF’s Travel Fellowship program continues to help open source bioinformatics software developers with funding to attend conferences, workshops, or training events. The next call closes 15 April 2018. Continue reading

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Arun Decano awarded OBF Travel Fellowship

Arun Decano
Arun Decano is a PhD research fellow in the Infection Genomics Group at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. Her research, with advisor Dr. Tim Downing, focuses on the phylogenomic study of a multidrug-resistant bacterial population and aims to develop novel infection control strategies using whole genome sequence data.

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation awarded Ms. Decano a travel fellowship to help defray the cost of attending the European Galaxy Administrator Workshop (https://www.elixir-europe.org/events/european-galaxy-administrator-workshop) in January 2018.

The OBF travel fellowship program was launched in 2016 to help increase diverse participation at events promoting open source bioinformatics software development and open science in the biological research community. The next application deadline will be April 15, 2018—see https://github.com/OBF/obf-docs/blob/master/Travel_fellowships.md for information and to apply.

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Mailing list consolidation

The OBF’s self-hosted mailman server is still struggling right now, so we are looking at migrating the active mailing lists to paid hosting, and as part of this consolidating down to ideally about a dozen mailing lists. Currently we have a lot of mailing lists, but many are dormant or redundant.
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Next OBF Travel Fellowship application deadline is Dec 15!

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation travel fellowship program was launched in 2016 to help increase diverse participation at events promoting open source bioinformatics software development and open science in the biological research community. There are four application deadlines per year; the next will be December 15, 2017. If you are hoping to attend an open source / open science bioinformatics even and travel costs are a barrier, we encourage you to apply for one of our $1000 travel fellowships. More information, including a link to the application form, can be found at https://github.com/OBF/obf-docs/blob/master/Travel_fellowships.md.

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This is a guest blog post from Farah Zaib Khan, who was supported by the ongoing Open Bioinformatics Foundation travel fellowship program to attend our annual conference BOSC 2017 and its preceding Codefest in Prague, July 2017. The OBF’s Travel Fellowship program continues to help open source bioinformatics software developers with funding to attend conferences or workshops. The current call closes 15 December 2017, you might want to apply?
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OBF visioning 2017

TL;DR: The OBF isn’t doing enough in public policy and advocacy around Open Science, and we are looking to recruit a new board member who is interested in this role. Is that you? If yes, then contact us.

At our October meeting, the OBF board took some time to think broadly about the OBF, current and future. We tried to answer the questions: What do we say we do? What do we actually do? What more do we wish we could do? We re-read our mission statement and list of public activities from the OBF main page, listed the current efforts of the board members and affiliates, and assessed how our actual work aligned with the stated goals of the organization. This was motivated by having board members who are new-ish to the OBF, as well as upcoming board elections.

Our general mission is fairly broad (“promoting the practice and philosophy of Open Source software development and Open Science within the biological research community”). We aim to do this through running / sponsoring BOSC and other open source events (codefests and Google Summer of Code); running a travel fellowship program; managing servers, mailing lists, domain names and other assets for our member projects; and by advocacy through policy and public statements.

With BOSC being our flagship event, it is not surprising that about 50% of our board time is spent on organizing this meeting, with our remaining effort about equally focused on the travel fellowship, server / domain management, and financials.

What more could we be doing? OBF could help facilitate other events, as we do for Google Summer of Code (GSoC). In this model, the board does not directly run the event, but instead provides support with financial management (e.g., reimbursements and payments) and advertising, while the hands-on organization is done by non-board members. In the case of GSoC, Kai Bin has been the OBF GSoC administrator for the past couple of years (thanks, Kai!). So, even though the board members don’t have bandwidth to organize other events, we could certainly help in a ‘producer’ role.

The big area where we aren’t doing enough is advocacy and communication. There is huge interest in Open Science, reproducibility, software sustainability and other similar topics, but the OBF is surprisingly silent. This doesn’t reflect a lack of interest (or opinion!) among the board members, but rather the difficulty in carving out time from other OBF jobs.

So, we are looking to recruit a new board member who is interested in policy and advocacy around Open Science. Does that sound like you? If you want to put your name forward, please email the board. The election will be held at the upcoming public board meeting in January. If you want more information, or want to contact one of us to talk about being on the board, see the OBF Board page.

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Mailing list outage, and public board meeting update

This time of year we’d normally be having a public board meeting as part of our commitment to communication with our member projects and the wider OBF community. As per our bylaws we notify the community at least 10 days in advance, and we’d also handle election of new board members and leadership changes where appropriate. For a couple of reasons, we’re going to postpone that until early 2018.

Our mailing list server (which hosts many of our member project lists) has been overwhelmed in the past few days, leading to delayed or blocked communication not just to our members but for our member projects who rely on it. We’re looking into options for solving this problem, which might include migrating to a hosted solution.

This comes at the same time that the OBF board has been taking a look at how best to direct the organisation as we move forward. We’d like to have that conversation with our members after we’ve crystallised our thoughts a bit, and we’re still in the process of doing that.

As we’re sorting this out, we decided to push the public meeting back to early 2018 so everyone involved can get the most out of it. We hope you understand, and we’re looking forward to hearing from as many of you as we can at that meeting.

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BOSC 2017 report

BOSC 2017 (https://www.open-bio.org/wiki/BOSC_2017) was held in Prague in July 2017 as part of the annual ISMB conference. Nearly 250 people, half of whom were first-time attendees, participated in the meeting. Over 50 talks and a similar number of posters covered topics ranging from workflow tools to a crowd-funded “tree of beers.” This year’s Open Data theme was reflected in the keynote talks by Madeleine Ball and Nick Loman and the panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges of open data.

A report about BOSC 2017 is now available on F1000 (https://f1000research.com/articles/6-1858/v1), and most of the talk and poster abstracts and talk videos are linked from the schedule page (https://www.open-bio.org/wiki/BOSC_2017_Schedule).

In 2018, BOSC will be partnering with the Galaxy Community Conference (GCC) as an experiment in broadening the BOSC community. We invite anyone who has an interest in open source bioinformatics or open science to join us in Portland, Oregon, June 25-30–see https://gccbosc2018.sched.com/ for more information.

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