Biocuration 2020 online workshops

As part of the Biocuration 2020 conference we had received excellent workshop proposals from several groups. Since the cancellation of the meeting we have been working with interested workshop organizers to bring this part of the conference online. We are excited to announce that we now have 3 workshops scheduled for the fall:

  • September 24, 9am PT, 12pm ET, 5pm CET – Biocompute Objects: Methods for communicating provenance of data and analysis 
    • Organizers: Charles Hadley King, Raja Mazumder, Jonathon Keeney; George Washington University
    • Register here
    • Recording here
  • October 29, 12pm PT, 3pm ET, 8pm CET – Gene Wiki: how to synchronize and curate primary sources with and in Wikidata 
    • Organizers: Andra Waagmeester, Lynn Schriml and Sabeh Ul-Hasan, Gene Wiki
    • Register here
    • Recording here
  • Dec 04, 8am PT, 11am ET, 4pm UK, 5pm CET – Biolink Model – A community driven data model for life sciences
    • Organizers: Deepak Unni, Chris Mungall, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    • Register here
    • Recording here

All workshops will be free to all participants.

There is a Slack workspace set up to facilitate communication between organizers and participants. If you are interested in attending any of these workshops please email biocuration2020 @ and we will send you an invite to the Slack workspace.

ISB statement from the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity committee

In response to recent events related to racism and injustice, most recently in the United States, but still present everywhere in the world, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The ISB is a society devoted to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scientific enterprise and in society as a whole. We unequivocally sustain and believe that Black Lives Matter.

Like all STEM organisations, we cannot ignore both the legacy of racism, especially in the life sciences, and the reality of discrimination in our institutions and workplaces. In the specific case of our membership, we are aware that discrimination is present in our field, and it is often reflected in a lack of recognition, defined career-tracks, or opportunties for advancement for people invested in biocuration.

What can we do? The ISB EDI committee was created in response to a necessary discussion about sexism, and we were aware from the start of the necessity of tackling other forms of discrimination and intersectionality. We must accelerate our current efforts, and go beyond them.

Current efforts:

New initiatives:

  • We are currently working on inviting champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion from a variety of institutions to present webinars on the subject of EDI; to share with us more on how the subject is addressed at their institutions and to advise ISB members on what we can do to make a difference
  • We will continue to review and revise, where necessary, our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to ensure that we represent the values and beliefs of all of our community

We welcome you to get in touch with any questions, concerns or suggestions. All members of our community are welcome to participate in the EDI Committee. Please email us at:

Annual General Meeting June 30, 2020

You are invited to a virtual Annual General Meeting of the International Society for Biocuration on Tuesday, 30 June, 8am PST, 11am EST, 4:00 PM UK, 5pm western Europe.

This will take the form of a 30 minute presentation on the Society’s activities followed by a Q&A to the EC.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The ISB Executive Committee

Call in information below:

Topic: ISB AGM
Time: Jun 30, 2020 04:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 889 7599 6534

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ISB Scholarship: Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration

We are pleased to announce an exciting new scholarship opportunity! Scholarships are now available for the Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration run by the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) at the University of Cambridge. The course runs from September 23, 2020 to April 16, 2021.

The application deadline for the course is June 7, 2020. To apply, go to:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, postgraduate programs in the academic year 2020-2021 will initially be delivered remotely with face-to-face teaching returning when the situation becomes viable.

The ISB will be awarding one scholarship for this course, to cover 2/3rds of the registration fees. The scholarship application form can be found here.

Eligibility Requirements:

To apply for the scholarship, one must be an active member of the ISB and be accepted into the course. We apologize for the late notice of this scholarship opportunity.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31st, 2020

Improving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Biocuration Webinar

In lieu of hosting a workshop at the Biocuration2020 conference, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee of the International Society for Biocuration will host a 30-minute webinar that will be open to the Biocuration community.

Title: Improving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Biocuration
When: Monday, 11th May
Time: 8.30-9.00am PT/4.30-5.00pm BST
Where: Zoom (details to be sent before the webinar – please register below)
Host: The EDI subcommittee of the ISB
Speakers: Nicole Vasilevsky (Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA), Rachael Huntley (SciBite, Cambridge, UK), Moni Munoz-Torres (Oregon State University, Berkeley, CA, USA)

The webinar outline is as follows:

  1. Introduction to the EDI subcommittee
  2. Overview of work to date: the ISB conference Code of Conduct, recommendations for conference organizers & analysis of the ISB conference gender distributions over the past 10 years
  3. discussion/brainstorm for what our goals should be for the upcoming year.

Please register here.

We will email you the zoom link and a password the night before the webinar.

The webinar recording is available here.


It is our great pleasure to announce the recipient of the 2020 Biocuration Award:

Midori Harris from PomBase, University of Cambridge, UK was unanimously selected for the Biocuration Career Award.

Midori started her career in biocuration at Saccharomyces Genome Database as a curator and Gene Ontology (GO) developer. Her colleague, Val Wood, the PomBase project manager, attributes a large part of the success of GO to Midori’s insight, precision and clarity. Midori currently works for PomBase, which now benefits from her skills in both curation best practice, and in the development of the Fission Yeast Phenotype Ontology (FYPO). Midori is currently collaborating with EBI and Monarch Initiative to integrate FYPO into uPheno which will help to provide much needed generic phenotype terms for describing cell level phenotypes. She also now maintains the Fungal Anatomy Ontology FAO. All of these projects have far reaching benefits across many areas of biocuration and biology.

Thank you to the Award committee:

  • Tiffany Callahan, Computational Biology PhD Candidate at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, USA
  • Violeta Ilik, Head Digital Collections and Preservation Systems at Columbia University in the City of New York, USA
  • Varsha Khodiyar, Data Curation Manager at Springer Nature, UK
  • Michael Livstone, Senior Scientific Data Curator at Bristol-Myers Squibb, USA
  • Luana Licata, Scientific Database Curator at University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy
  • Zhang Zhang, Professor at National Genomics Data Center, China

Congratulations to Midori!

Biocuration 2020 Meeting is Cancelled

From the Biocuration 2020 conference organizers:

After continuous monitoring of the evolving situation with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Biocuration 2020 conference organizers in conjunction with the International Society for Biocuration made the decision to cancel the 2020 meeting that was scheduled to take place May 17-20 in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA.

Cancelling this meeting was a difficult decision made after careful thought and deliberation. This evidence-based decision was made after a thorough review of all factors impacting the conference, including the U.S. government’s enforcement of restrictions on international travelers to enter the U.S.; the imposition of travel restrictions issued by U.S. government agencies, cancer centers, academic institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies; the directives of infectious disease experts and the World Health Organization (WHO). However, our primary concern was the health and safety of the attendees, the venue staff and the local community.

We recognize that the presentation of new data, exchange of information, and opportunities for collaboration offered by the chance to meet colleagues in this field are highly valued and we are investigating options for rescheduling this fall or for virtual presentations.

A great deal of work went into planning this meeting, and we wish to thank the members of the scientific committee, the organizing committee, the Jackson Laboratory Courses and Conferences office, the International Society for Biocuration, and the Harborside Hotel and Bar Harbor Club for their time and effort.

We will contact all registered attendees about the refund of registration and conference dinner fees, and we will also contact all sponsors about return of fees associated with contracts. All attendees should cancel their own hotel and travel reservations; please check the cancellation policy for your hotel, airline, etc. We have notified the hotels listed on the meeting website to expect cancellations.

Anyone with urgent and immediate concerns should email Any additional updates concerning this meeting will be posted onto the meeting website and on social media.

The Biocuration 2020 conference organizers wish to sincerely thank everyone for their patience throughout this decision-making process.

Curation at Scale Workshop, April 27-28, 2020

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce a two-day Curation at Scale Workshop to be held on April 27-28, 2020 on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. The NLM workshop featuring invited speakers will bring together biocurators, developers of automated curation methods, and other community stakeholders, and will offer a platform to learn, share and discuss opportunities and challenges in implementation of advanced computational techniques for scientific data curation. We invite participants from academia, government, publishers, and industry interested in the methods and tools employed in curation of biomedical data to attend this exciting workshop.

NLM Workshop on Curation at Scale

April 27-28, 2020

Wilson Hall, Building 1

NIH Main Campus

To find out more and register, please visit:

Participants are encouraged to submit an abstract for consideration for poster presentation.

Poster abstract submission deadline: March 6, 2020

Registration deadline: April 17, 2020