Five Parallel Workshops

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Workshops will run during two afternoon sessions, choose from:

  • FAIR and Industry (Rachael Huntley – SciBite)
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Mary-Ann Tuli – ISB)
  • Curate your career (Arzu Ozturk-Colak – ISB)
  • ELIXIR training resource collection (Alexandra Holinski – EBI Training Team)
  • Defining biocuration activities (Damiano Piovesan – APICURON)


FAIR and Industry (Rachael Huntley – SciBite
The use of ontologies in the pharmaceutical industry is becoming increasingly commonplace. Ontologies are essential for companies to ensure they can easily organise, search and access legacy data, as well as enable consistent metadata at point-of-entry. Increasingly, it is a priority for the industry to adhere to FAIR data capture to build a FAIR data architecture that can be implemented enterprise wide. This effort relies heavily on the provision of high-quality public ontologies, which can be built upon and tailored to specific use cases within each company.
In this workshop we will bring together representatives from both the pharmaceutical industry and companies that provide curation, ontology and thought-leadership services to them. Each speaker will give a 15 minute presentation to illustrate the importance of FAIR data in their companies and how ontologies are used to achieve their goals. We will follow this with a 40 minute panel session where we will encourage the audience to provide questions and discussion points


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Mary-Ann Tuli – ISB)
Attendees of ISB conferences have now come to anticipate that there will be an EDI workshop during the meeting and so we are excited to have the opportunity to host what is always an insightful and lively session.

A growing number of institutes now have dedicated EDI staff, which support and advise employees, management and human resource teams. This recognises that EDI issues are valuable, complex and acknowledged.  

With invited speakers and a panel comprising EDI experts and scientists the workshop will both educate and invite debate and discussion.

This workshop is aimed at all delegates: students, people at the beginning of their careers and more senior and experienced scientists.


Curate your career (Arzu Ozturk-Colak – ISB)
There are a variety of different biocuration or biocuration-related careers available. During this workshop there will be 15 minutes presentations from biocurators and managers from a variety of working environments. The speakers will be encouraged to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of different biocuration roles and what biocurators can do to improve their future careers. Audience will be encouraged to raise questions to expand on these topics during the 40-minute-panel-discussion


ELIXIR training resource collection (Alexandra Holinski – EBI Training Team)
In 2019 ELIXIR launched a global study1 with the aim of gaining an up-to-date profile of biocuration. This study aimed to identify communities of biocurators, the type of biocuration work being done, training needs and gaps, and to draw a picture of biocuration career development. In this study, programming / scripting / coding, development and use of ontologies, and database management were identified as the most common training needs. In addition, skills like programming and extracting data from literature were mentioned as vital for a successful career in biocuration. The study also showed that there were few training offerings available to meet the specific training needs that biocurators have. In this workshop we will:

  • Present the online training collection on biocuration
  • Ask attendees to revise the collection and provide feedback on topics they wish to have extended or that are missing
  • Discuss ways in which biocurators can be supported in satisfying their training needs.
  • Encourage attendees to share experiences and advice on how to learn new skills.

Defining biocuration activities (Damien Piovesan – Apicuron)
Biocuration plays a key role in making research data available to the scientific community in a standardized way. Despite its importance, the contribution and effort of biocurators is extremely difficult to attribute and quantify. Several efforts have been made during the last decade to credit the work of biocurators in manually curated resources. One obvious solution is to use the Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID). ORCID allows integration of ‘Works’ such as publications, data sets, conference presentations, etc. in the user profile page. However, ORCID is not designed to directly manage biocuration activities and it does not provide a system to aggregate and weigh this type of information. APICURON is a new service aiming at filling this gap by providing aggregated statistics, rankings and featuring real-time tracking of biocuration activities.

APICURON calculates achievements and allows objective evaluation of the volume and quality of the contributions. However, it is not yet integrated with ORCID and lacks standardization. Indeed the definition of a curation activity is itself problematic. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Provenance Working Group already defined generic entity activities such as “generation”, “invalidation” and “revision”. However, curation activities in different resources can be extremely different and can be tracked at different levels of granularity.
Moreover, it is extremely difficult to quantify the curation effort for all possible activities. In order to standardize curation activities and provide curation databases with a structure to capture this information coherently it is necessary to have a broader discussion bringing biocurators, database developers and attribution service providers (ORCID and APICURON) together around the same table.

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