Ain’t No Party like a Bring Your Own Data Party!


Data Club is Gonna Show You How
As science is supposed to be about “standing on the shoulders of giants”, we all know sharing scientific data should be a good thing, but there are obviously large technical and cultural challenges holding things back. Things are a long way from the Jimmy Wales “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge” utopian dream, but some research fields (e.g. genomics) have done a better job making data available than others. Unfortunately sharing complicated scientific data usually isn’t as easy as just dumping it in a dropbox folder, and to be reused …

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Continuing the push beyond static documents. ISMB, and more on our “What Bioinformaticians need to know about digital publishing beyond the PDF2” workshop

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Boston 2014: More than a (Bioinformatics) Feeling
Following from our previous posting on BOSC, our birthday and the BMC Open Data award party in Boston, on top of having to dash between the many great talks and sessions at ISMB, we were kept even busier than usual helping to organize and present in a special Beyond-the-PDF inspired “What Bioinformaticians need to know about digital publishing beyond the PDF” workshop at the end of the conference. Coming in the year that Illumina are hoping to make human clinical genome sequencing affordable with new sequencing platforms, one noticeable trend this year was a larger …

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Guest posting: Optical Mapping allows comprehensiveness and scalability that modern sequencing cannot provide


Shedding light on what the Optical Mapping System can provide for genome analysis, here we present a guest posting from optical mapping pioneer and developer (and GigaScience Editorial Board Member), David C. Schwartz, who is a Professor of Chemistry and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Taking the Google Maps approach: providing comprehensive, scalable worldviews

We use maps in our daily lives to get around town and to explore new places, and Google mapping software has almost perfected the ways we can do this. One appeal of Google maps is that you can seamlessly scale the resolution to suit the type of journey you’re plotting— use the street view for getting about town, perhaps to check buildings and …

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Bioinformatics, Birthdays, and Booze at Boston BOSC.


Birthdays are always emotional. The GigaScience team are on their way back from the always jam packed ISMB meeting and its satellite SIGs. This year was a particularly event filled one, with our second birthday, the BMC open data award and drinks reception, and our “What Bioinformaticians need to know about digital publishing beyond the PDF2″ workshop all falling during the meeting. The SIGs were brilliant as always, and we had additional involvement this year, promoting and building on our AFP (Advanced Functional Prediction) series tied in with the SIG of the same name, and sponsoring BOSC (the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference) …

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New GigaDB Dataset: Ever wondered whats in your gut?


A paper published in Nature Biotechnology today reveals the most comprehensive catalogue of genes in any single microbiome to date. While the roughly 20,000 genes in the human genome have been available for over a decade, the gene catalogue of the microbiome, our much larger “other genome” has to date been much more poorly understood and characterized. The team, including multiple authors from our host institution BGI, reveal a staggering 9.8 million genes in the collective non-redundant microbiome of ~1250 human gut microbiomes sampled worldwide to date.

The researchers combined metagenomic sequences from several previous large studies (MetaHIT, HMP and …

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GigaScience – making open peer review more open: Q&A with Publons co-founder, Andrew Preston


At GigaScience, one of our major goals is to improve transparency and reproducibility of research and one of the ways we do this is through open peer review. After the unusual “meta peer review” of our Assemblathon2 paper (see more in biome), we thought our peer review couldn’t get more open, but a small New Zealand-based start-up, Publons, who also happens to be the world’s largest open peer-review platform, approached and told us about their exciting, innovative approach that gives peer reviewers due credit for the work that they do. GigaScience peer reviewers can now get further recognised for their efforts through our partnership with Publons, which was recently announced via the BMC Blog. Following some of …

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Guest posting: Let’s crowdfund a fern genome that will blow your mind


Following our efforts encouraging open-science projects, such as the community funded “Peoples Parrot” and OpenAshDieback, today we have a guest posting from Fay-Wei Li and Kathleen Pryer from the Department of Biology at Duke University covering a crowdfunding effort to sequence the Azolla genome.  They have already raised over $4,000 and have 25 days remaining until their deadline, so if you find the project interesting, there is time still to contribute on

We need a fern genome.

Why? Because considering the 470 million year history of plants on land, most species belongs to bryophytes, lycophytes, ferns and gymnosperms, which eventually yielded to the infamous flowering plants 90 million years (Myr) ago. Ferns, the third largest of these five …

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Publish Data: Fight World Hunger


3000 Rice Genome Sequences Made Publicly Available on World Hunger Day
Yesterday marked the publication in GigaScience of the first data from the 3,000 Rice Genomes Project, a collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and BGI; as well as a commentary from the Directors of these institutes outlining the goals of this ambitious project. Our biggest Data Note to date, the publication and release of this enormous dataset in our GigaDB repository quadruples the current amount of publicly available rice sequence data, …

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The Early Earthworm Catches on to Full Data Release

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New research and data published in GigaScience and PLOS ONE provides complete open access to detailed 3D images of earthworms
To quote the American cartoonist Gary Larson: all things play a role in nature, even the lowly worm—but perhaps never in such a visually stunning way as that presented in two papers published last week in GigaScience and PLOS ONE. The work and data presented here provide the first-ever comparative study of earthworm morphology and anatomy using a 3D non-invasive imaging technique called micro-computed tomography (or microCT), which digitizes worm structures. This opens the possibility of scanning millions of specimens from museum collections, including extinct species, all of …

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The Latest Weapon in Publishing Data: the Polar Bear


Being the largest land predator, the fearsome and enigmatic Polar Bear is seen by many as a powerful symbol to highlight of the threats to the environment through global warming. With a new publication on the Polar Bear genome out last week in Cell, they surprisingly are also an impressive example of how far data publication and citation has come in the last few years, and help debunk many of the negative arguments about the early release of datasets in this manner.

Providing a comparison of the genomes of polar bears and brown bears reveals that the polar bear is a much younger species than previously believed, having diverged from brown bears less than …

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