NETTAB 2010 is the tenth in a series of international workshops on Network Tools and Applications in Biology
NETTAB workshops are aimed at presenting and discussing emerging ICT technologies whose adoption in support of biology could be of particular interest. Since 2001, many different topics were discussed, including:
Workshops include focused sessions devoted to tools and systems, applications and perspectives. Keynote lectures introduce the sessions' topics, and are followed by presentations selected from among the submitted contributions.
Discussion is a key factor, both within sessions and in a special Panel Discussion.
Tutorials and poster sessions complete the agenda of the NETTAB workshops.
NETTAB 2010 Call for Papers
It is now clear that wiki systems offer a variety of advantages for the management of biological data and information. Some of the specific aims of wikis for biology (bio-wikis) include:
The collaborative development and sharing of documentation and knowledge allows communities to promote, exploit, discuss and reach consensus on information, procedures, data, experiences, news, and other varied information. This aim is motivated by the awareness that valuable expertise and interests in special topics are usually distributed, and are rarely concentrated in a unique site or research group. The objective is the implementation of high quality compendia on specialist biological topics.
The collaborative annotation of biological databases leverages the fact that an extended and accurate curation of an ever increasing volume of data is extremely costly and time consuming. The aim is to improve and extend databases curation beyond that which is possible with, typically, a small number of curation staff. It allows users to contribute their expertise, experiences, observations and results independently of the database organization and staff. Users can control this extended curation, correcting and updating the archives in a timely manner. Although contents of the database are collaboratively annotated, databases themselves are left unchanged.
Collaborative creation of community database captures emerging structure in rapidly developing fields. These database-wikis are indexes of biologically relevant data that emerge from focused and rapidly developing communities. They form a stopgap between unstructured discussion in fora and on mailing lists and the 'mature' databases that emerge subsequently. They can be useful for discerning trends and promoting best practices, but often, by their nature, collect unique and important information.
In the future, collaborative 'wiki' update of almost all database contents could be imagined. However, this vision requires us to address several important issues:
Procedures should be implemented supporting the assessment of users' contributions, the extraction of structured data from annotations, the insertion of this data into the database.
From the analysis of above aims, some issues clearly stand out.
The authoritativeness of contributions and of sites is essential: how to assess quality? Quality of contributions is essential, but contributions from casual end users is usually considered not adequate to achieve a quality of contributions comparable with professional annotation at service centers. Otherwise, many wiki systems, e.g. Wikipedia, may anyway be considered successfull. Is their organization a possible way to go for accurate annotation of biological data? Alternatively, can usual criteria for assessing quality of research, including peer-evaluation of contributions and identification of users, be applied in this case?
Acknowledgement of users may be a way to stimulate contributions: how to stimulate quality additions? It is needed to stimulate good contributions, but how to attract the most experts in the field? Which kind of reward can be assigned to best contributors? Identification of their contribute in the wiki and the possibility of cite contributions may be a sufficient reward? Which further benefits may be imagined (subscriptions to services, journals, ...)?
Authorships management and reward may be a way to stimulate quality contributions: how to keep information on authors and assign these contributions a 'scientific production' value? Authorships assignment is a form of acknowledgement. It contributes to defining reliability of information, while providing authors due credits. It enables peer-review: authors can rate each other and an automatic reputation system can be implemented. It also allows a knowledge base to evolve into a rigourous scientific tool via continuous revision and peer-review. How to combine collaborative (and altruistic) features of wiki systems with authorships?
Special features may be required for biological data and information: how to manage the many, different data types? Textual information is only a small part of biological data. Biological data types are numerous and heterogeneous, depending on the domain. How to cope with the different data types: images, plots, diagrams? An adaptation of wiki systems is needed.
Many wiki systems are already available (see following table). A survey of existing systems could be useful, so that possible sinergies can be identified and supported, while removing duplication of efforts and promoting a coherent set of biological wikis.
Tutorials demonstrating the actual applicability and usefulness of bio-wikis and introducing interested researchers to the arts of contributing, managing and implementing wiki systems.
The following list is not meant to be exclusive of any further topics as stated above.
Type of contributions
Exact types of contributions and related authors' instructions will be available on the official launch of the Call. Presently, the following possible contributions are sought:
The following deadlines are subject to changes.
Kindly follow the instructions carefully when preparing your contribution and submit your contribution through the EasyChair system at http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=nettab2010.
All contributions should follow the same format, as specified here:
The lenght of contributions for oral communications should be between 3 and 5 pages, including tables and figures.
The length of contributions for posters should be no more then 3 pages, including tables and figures.
For any further information or clarification, please contact the organization by email at info at nettab dot org.
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