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PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Feb 5;11(2):e1003972. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003972. eCollection 2015 Feb.

A quick guide for building a successful bioinformatics community.

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Structural and Computational Biology (SCB) Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany.
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom.
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, MaRS Centre, West Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) gGmbH, Heidelberg, Germany.
The Computational Biology Institute, George Washington University, Innovation Hall, Virginia, United States of America.
Computational Biology Group, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences, Cape Town, South Africa.
Computational Cancer Biology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, MaRS Centre, West Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
The Software Sustainability Institute, School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
ELIXIR Hub, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


"Scientific community" refers to a group of people collaborating together on scientific-research-related activities who also share common goals, interests, and values. Such communities play a key role in many bioinformatics activities. Communities may be linked to a specific location or institute, or involve people working at many different institutions and locations. Education and training is typically an important component of these communities, providing a valuable context in which to develop skills and expertise, while also strengthening links and relationships within the community. Scientific communities facilitate: (i) the exchange and development of ideas and expertise; (ii) career development; (iii) coordinated funding activities; (iv) interactions and engagement with professionals from other fields; and (v) other activities beneficial to individual participants, communities, and the scientific field as a whole. It is thus beneficial at many different levels to understand the general features of successful, high-impact bioinformatics communities; how individual participants can contribute to the success of these communities; and the role of education and training within these communities. We present here a quick guide to building and maintaining a successful, high-impact bioinformatics community, along with an overview of the general benefits of participating in such communities. This article grew out of contributions made by organizers, presenters, panelists, and other participants of the ISMB/ECCB 2013 workshop "The 'How To Guide' for Establishing a Successful Bioinformatics Network" at the 21st Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) and the 12th European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB).

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