ASBCB supports open access in the development of bioinformatics and computational biology in Africa

Guest post from Associate Professor Nicola Mulder, President of the African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ASBCB)

The mission of The African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ASBCB) is to be a scholarly
body dedicated to advancing, developing and promoting bioinformatics and computational
biology in Africa.
In seeking to have an impact in more than 50 countries with
at least 4 major international languages and thousands
of others, with
a considerably varied educational and development landscape, the society is confronted with
a huge task.
Established in
2004,
it aims to serve a global membership, by impacting
government and scientific policies, providing high quality publications and
meetings, and through distribution
of valuable information about
training, education, employment and relevant news from related fields.

The society is an affiliate of the
International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and these two organizations team up every two years to
organize an ISCB-Africa ASBCB bioinformatics conference at
different locations in Africa. These
conferences are combined with
workshops to provide exposure of African researchers and students to
international experts in the field.

The society has started to recognize the value in open access publishing and hopes to work with open access journals to publish proceedings of its future conferences. Recently, its student group published an article in an open access journal on the organization of virtual conferences. This complements the open access policy of the ISCB, which ASBCB has strong links to through its affiliation, joint conferences, and the growing body of ASBCB students belonging to the ISCB African regional student groups.

Bioinformatics
activities in Africa are set to increase with the
roll-out of the H3Africa project funded by the NIH and Wellcome Trust. The NIH is planning to
provide significant funding for an African bioinformatics network to support
H3Africa research projects. These projects will all work under a strict data
release policy to ensure that data
produced ends up in the public
domain. We are confident that
H3Africa will provide an important platform for building a sustainable bioinformatics
infrastructure in Africa.

Associate Professor Nicola Mulder, President ASBCB

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