ISB Newsletter – April 2020

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2020 for the International Society for Biocuration

In December 2019, we announced that the ISB EC would be discontinuing the quarterly newsletter. We have since rescinded this decision and will (for now) keep the newsletter, alongside our other social media channels (Twitter and LinkedIn), our newsfeed and our mailing list.

We have an iPad up for grabs….see below. Then read on for news on the the Biocuration Conference, the winner of the Biocurator Career Award, curation opportunities for bench scientists, an upcoming Webinar hosted by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and details of the Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration. Thank you! 

Biocuration Society’s Annual Survey

The International Society for Biocuration Executive Committee (ISB EC) is interested in hearing feedback from you, our community members. We would like you to complete this brief survey to collect information and feedback from the community. 

The survey will remain open until Monday, May 18th and we will share the results on our website as soon as they are collated. Past survey results are here).

The survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. As an incentive, you will have the option to enter a raffle to win an iPad as a prize for completing the survey. The winner will be announced via our social media channels shortly after the survey closes.

We are collecting this information for informational purposes to identify unmet needs and to serve the community better. Responses are anonymous, but you will need to enter your contact details if you would like to enter to win the iPad. 

13th International Biocuration Conference is Cancelled

From the Biocuration 2020 Conference organisers:After continuous monitoring of the evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biocuration 2020 Conference organisers 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. Refunds have been made to attendees who had already registered. Read the full announcement

14th International Biocuration Conference

We are delighted to announce that the Biocuration 2021 Conference is planned to be held in New Dehli, India. This is the first time India has hosted the conference and we are very excited. The organisers are unable to announce the date of the conference until they know how global travel restrictions may effect attendees. We will post updates as soon as we can. 

Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Biocuration Career Award

The ISB Biocuration Career Award recognises a Biocurator who has made exceptional contributions to sustain the field of biocuration in a non-leadership position. 

In a unanimous decision, the Award committee voted that this year’s award be presented to Midori Harris, from PomBase, University of Cambridge, UK. Midori will be invited to present a Keynote talk when she is presented with the award at the Biocuration 2021 conference.

The full announcement, and a list of previous winners can be seen on the ISB website. Congratulations Midori!

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

In lieu of hosting a workshop at the Biocuration 2020 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, 2020
Time: 8.30-9.00am PT/4.30-5.00pm BST
Where: Zoom (details to be sent before the webinar)
Host: The EDI subcommittee of the ISB
SpeakersNicole Vasilevsky (OHSU, Portland, Oregon, USA) & Moni Munoz-Torres (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) Sli.do discussion/brainstorm for what our goals should be for the upcoming year.

The webinar will be recorded and made available to the community.

Curation Opportunities for Bench Scientists

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of biomedical researchers are unable to work at the bench. With input from many people within the Biocuration community the ISB EC have listed some opportunities for researchers to apply their knowledge and expertise to biocuration projects. 
This Blog post from GigaScience‘s Executive Editor, Scott Edmunds outlines eight things we do to add value to scientific papers.

Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration

First run in 2018, the Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration will run again in 2020. The course has been developed by the University of Cambridge and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

The programme has been designed to educate new biocurators with the requisite skills to work in this field and to provide established biocurators with a recognised qualification that reflects their diverse life-science and computational skills. 

Applications close on the 7th June. Further details here…..

Note since this Newsletter was circulated: the ISB is now offering a scholarship for this course, see here for more details