Open Bioinformatics in The Irish Free Software State - GigaBlog
gavinbaker's bookmarks 2015-07-13
"While the internet might still be raging over Tim Hunt’s comments about #distractlingsexy gender issues in the lab, and to a lesser extent Lior Pachtor’s recent provocative blog on the 'myths' of bioinformatics code availability and licensing, here in Dublin this years BOSC conference was clear as ever about where they stand on both issues. Appropriately being held in the capital of the first country to legalise marriage equality by popular vote, this year’s theme was 'Diversity'. This explicitly had the goal of opening the door even wider to participants who have historically been underrepresented in the world of open source bioinformatics. On top of race, gender and sexuality, this call for an increase in diversity was also made to more traditional biologists, and even taxa – with Holly Bik providing probably the first BOSC keynote that covered worm identification and marine nematodes (slides here). On as well as a panel discussion on the topic (Open Source, Open Door: increasing diversity in the bioinformatics open source community”), BOSC and OBF (it’s parent organisation: the Open Bioinformatics Foundation) have made many steps over the last year to introduce a code of conduct (now implemented across ISMB), more travel fellowships, and the popular idea from Michael Crusoe to allow questions via index cards and twitter (inspired by this blog from Valerie Aurora). Regarding the ongoing licensing arguments, while Ewan Birney circumvented the topic somewhat in his great keynote focussing on transparency, the OBF members and the large proportion of attendees representing the many open source bioinformatics communities beginning with 'Bio' (regulars like Biopython being joined on the program by newer kids on the block like BioJS) know which side of the licensing debate their open source soda bread was buttered ..."