Bioinformatics in India: The need to promote open-access research with the bioinformatics community
In 1970 Paulien Hogeweg of the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) coined the word “bioinformatics.” She described bioinformatics as ‘the study of biotic systems computer processes’1. Hogeweg has found in her doctoral thesis that the production of information is one of the main properties of life on several levels and time scales.
Bioinformatics is attributable to different roles in the current age of high-performance biotechnology including large data analysis, manual data recovery, database/server creation, statistical analysis, biological system mathematical modeling, development of algorithms, ontology, and much more at the crossroads between biology and information technology.
What is clear is that the techniques of high-performance omics have created an unparalleled increase in the use of biological data in simple, agriculture, translation, and clinical development in a sustainable environment. The successful use of these technologies has announced the naive development of the Indian and OA research articles bioinformatics industry (publically accessibility without any restrictions).
The OA strategy represents the tradition of providing the end-user with free online access to scientific articles. This can be repeated or reused further. In particular biological scientists, researchers, students, pharmaceutical firms, public authorities as well as librarians, have become central to the advancement, after the last decade, of the interests of both academia and industry to a certain degree.
OA resources in the form of open-source (OS) repositories/ algorithms will include new research findings in bioinformatics in addition to fostering creativity, enriching bioinformatics education, and further stimulating public welfare economic development. For several decades, various groundbreaking computer biological OA algorithms have been available to solve a particular question.
An example of this is BLAST algorithm2, which is now an epitome of sequence alignment suites, thanks to the bioinformatics tools created by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Nowadays, the next generation of scientists and biologists is working towards supporting scientific societies in developing more and more advanced methods that will aid researchers and provide answers to imminent questions.
The word ‘science community is, on the other hand, used for the purposes of communicating shared objectives and principles for their projects by a group of researchers, scientists, and professors who cooperate in scientific research activities.
In certain bioinformatics/computing biology practices, the science communities play an important role in supporting the education of bioinformatics and practical research training. Many well-known bioinformatics societies/communities, including ISCB (http://www.iscb.org/), the Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet) (http://www.apbionet.org/), the Italian Society for Bioinformatics (http://bioinformatics.it/) and the EuPA (HTTp://github.com/eupa-bioinfo).
The ISCB chapters aimed at supporting student activities by regional groups of students. On the other hand, Bioinformatics.Org is the largest company worldwide, offering a number of open-source resources for two decades. (http.//www.bioinformatics.org). The Bioinformatics club (Bioclues) (http://bioclues.org) is a member of ISCB.org in India, which aims to provide bioinformatics scientists with the next generation open-access bioinformatics services. In addition to conducting seminars and practical training programs on the subject of biological science in four different ways: mentoring-extension-research-entrepreneurship, Bioclues is committed to offering different OA bioinformatic services online (MORE).
Although it is an imminent time to consider introducing researchers and future bioinformatics graduates on a joint platform in India, increasing concerted efforts will allow us, through the Indian bioinformatics community, to enhance our scope of services. Indian funding agencies such as DST, DBT, ICMR, DHR, CSIR, ICAR, UCB, etc., have been jointly supportive of these new causes. While such activities have taken place at a significant pace, it takes an hour to ensure that the initiative is enforced (see illustration & Figure 1).
(1) Funding: creation of new funding paradigms for bioinformatics tools/algorithms/repositories and travel grants for participants to join the scientific programs across the globe.
(2) Publications: Increase the means to reward the efforts of scientists to providing user oriented and well-maintained tools. Websites like Publons (www.publons.com) does this as a reviewing compendium.
(3) Cooperation: setting up joint community platforms for various scientific events including virtual i.e. seminars, workshops, hands-on-trainings, summit etc.
(4) Virtual exchange programs: virtual exchange and development of ideas and expertise between budding graduates and professionals from bioinformatics field.
(5) Career development counseling: may support to bioinformatics graduates to make a career in science through providing various updates on PhD positions, scholarships opening, and job information.
(6) Encouragement to women in bioinformatics: may help to encourage the women scientists to make a career in bioinformatics.
(7) Spin-offs and entrepreneurial management
(8) Course on ethics and policies
1. Hogeweg P: The roots of bioinformatics in theoretical biology. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011; 7: e1002021 2011.
2. Altschul SF, Gish W, Miller W, Myers EW, Lipman DJ: Basic local alignment search tool. J Mol Biol. 1990; 215(3):403-410.
3. Budd A, Corpas M, Brazas MD, Fuller JC, Goecks J, Mulder NJ, Michaut M, Ouellette BF, Pawlik A, Blomberg N: A quick guide for building a successful bioinformatics community. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015; 11:e1003972.