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What and how? Crowdsourcing Bioinformatics, does it work?

When? 17th October, 19:00-21:00

Where? Hörsaal 04a

Who? A team of people working at several different life-science organisations within Heidelberg are organising HUB, with your help (just get in touch or add your comments to this page).

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19:00 Welcome & introduction
19:05 Ice-breaker - build the biggest tower
19:15 Crowd-sourcing antimalarial drug discovery - video

19:30 Crowdsourcing: what is it and what is it good for? foldit as an example, with group discussions
20:15 Develop a crowdsourcing project in groups. Pitch to everyone (1min max!)
20:45 To the pub (Marstall).

In groups, come up with a potential crowdsourced project. Each group to give a one-minute pitch of their idea. Time to be strictly ;-) enforced with a countdown clock (projected from a laptop?) and with the 'moderator' holding up a large sign with 'Applause!' written on it.


Please add yourself to the list of participants by editing the list below.

List of participants:

  1. Bronagh Carey
  2. Katja Linssen
  3. Matthew Betts
  4. Th. Soldatos
  5. Adam Gristwood
  6. Christine Gläßer
  7. Pierre Khoueiry
  8. Laura Rubinat
  9. Grischa Toedt
  10. Anne-Marie Glynn
  11. Konstantinos Koutroumpas
  12. Yves Texier
  13. Maria Secrier
  14. Jon Fuller
  15. Beifei Zhou
  16. Alvaro Mateos Gil
  17. Pierre Wehler


Task List

A list of tasks that need to be done on or before the meeting day. Just sign your name to say that you'll do a task, and the same again when the task is done.

To arrange before evening Person responsible Done
Room booking Jon
List of registered people
Ordering beer for evening Matt
Drinking Water and Cups
A4 signs in plastic envelopes to help people find the room Adam
Treasury duties Matt
Create the poster
Print and display poster where relevant
  • BioQuant:
  • EMBL: Katja & Bronagh
  • DKFZ:
  • HITS:
  • ...
Advertise on linkedin Katja
Beamer Matt
Send reminder email Bronagh & Katja

To do on the evening Person responsible Done
Open the room
Arrange room (tables/chairs)
Hang up signs to the room
Setup and welcome attendees
Setup AV equipment
MC/Chair the meeting
Chair the warmup
Tidy and close room Laura

Planning Meetings

Thursday 8th August 2013

In attendance: Matt, Katja, Aidan, Holger, Laura, Grainne, Jon, Bronagh, Adam. Aidan took the minutes:

We'll know probably by the middle of september re: the date for HUB8.0, from Jon. Date will be in the second half of October

Adam mentioned the AAAS meeting "using social media to do science" which was about crowd "stuff"

Bronagh's former boss, still in Dublin, Anthony Chubb, works on malaria@home, again a link to crowd stuff [boinc (crowd sourced stuff online)] He could create a short video on this.

Do another git-focused git one would be nice, but Holger needs to be there; he's not around in October, so we decided that he'll lead one in late November, early December, at BioQuant, doing again git-related stuff.

Aidan is checking when Alex Bateman's Pink Seminar will be, we'll try and link that to a HUB meeting, as he's still very much up for this.

We will also try and link a HUB to VizBi 2014.

We'd like to look into remote link-ups with other HUB-type (Niall, Sean, Damien) for a future meeting; we'll ask for people interested in this, when we write to people about the Ten Simple Rules article, which we've decided to do via git.

We decided that Bronagh will coordinate HUB8.0 if the topic is somehow related to crowd "stuff" (funding, sourcing), she'll organise a meeting for next week where we'll come with our specific plans for how to implement this; if we don't then find a plan we like, we'll go for an alternative topic. Bronagh will mail HUB people about this meeting.

Holger had the idea to invite Toby to talk about fraud and perhaps we could get examples of images submitted to EMBO Scientific Publications to see if anyone can spot where images are not the way they should be. Michele Garfinkel, Science Policy Manager at EMBO, could also talk on this subject, maybe moderate a debate with Toby.

links for "crowdsourcing" HUB8

What about something along the lines of how the normally passive audience is becoming an a part of how science is evolving? Like when "gamers" can get a kick out of playing an addictive game and then actually get their name on a Nature paper and maybe (there is talk) be part of a nobel prize.

The Nature paper on foldit can be found here: File:Kahtib11A.pdf

There is a nice tedtalk here: [1]

this is BOINC : [2]

this is the two guys I was working with in Dublin that have made fightmalaria@home :[ -] Anthony Chubb and Kevin o'Brien.

It would be great if we could get first hand evidence/advice from Ant/Kevin either with a video (there is a nice one already here:,135839,en.html) or if there is a chance of getting wifi we could skype or Google hangout. There is a teeny tiny chance that they might be able to come over, but I wouldn't want to get hopes up. In the video they explain how it was set up and what problems they came across, also the novel way that during their research they were able to interact with the audience.

The idea for HUB8 would be a quick ice breaker followed by a five minute briefing on crowd sourcing, foldit@home and a 5/10 minute video on fightmalaria@home. Then people break off into discussion on how each person's own work and how it might be possible to outsource an aspect of their work.

I think there might be an interesting discussion on negative points of this, like is it actually more expensive, will funding deplete if it is possible to "sell" it off to thousands of people rather than on researcher? if there are no contracts in place can people opt out at any stage. And of course the plus points! Using social media as way of doing science could also be discussed.

It would be kinda cool if Niall did something similar in UCD, though he is leaving in Sept, and maybe actually collaborate on a project evolving from their Seminar. I reckon "DUB" is perfect!

I could get in touch with Ant and Kevin and see what they think.

This article was on the BBC News website today.

Also of interest: [Folding@home], GPUGrid.

Press release from BBSRC 13th August:

Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Minutes (or 'moments'...) taken by Matt:

People who volunteered to make sure things are done are indicated in bold.

  • Schedule
    • Brief introduction and welcome Matt
    • Ice-breaker - Adam to lead - 5-10 minutes
      • Discounted consequences and taboo games as not being sufficiently ice-breaking / talking-based.
      • Adam mentioned a tower-building game from the EMBO postdoc retreat: who / which group can build the tallest tower using only paper? At the end of 5 (?) minutes, each tower will be measured and also scored by everyone on it's aesthetics.
    • Video from the fightmalaria@home at home people. 5-10 minutes. Bronagh
      • Need to download this in advance Bronagh
    • foldit@home Bronagh to present this. 10-15 minutes. Talk will be broken up in to sections to allow for discussions in groups.
      • what is crowdsourcing? Aidan suggested getting everyone to write their definition down, then compare with their neighbour, then come to some agreement of the meaning, then summarise for everyone.
      • types of crowdsourcing and examples
      • how could it help your project (or not) ?
      • what features make a project amenable to crowdsourcing?
      • pros & cons
    • In groups, come up with a potential crowdsourced project. Each group to give a one-minute pitch of their idea. Time to be strictly ;-) enforced with a countdown clock (projected from a laptop?) and with the 'moderator' holding up a large sign with 'Applause!' written on it.
  • Equipment needed
    • Stop-watch Bronagh
    • Tape-measure Bronagh
    • Projector Matt
    • Laptop Bronagh and Matt
    • Speakers Matt
    • Stationery - Adam
      • paper for tower-building ice-breaker
      • stickers for name labels
      • pens
      • chalk
      • etc?
    • countdown clock, eg. powerpoint Katja
    • Applause board
    • beer Matt
    • choc / mars bars for the winning tower Matt
  • Matt to put minutes and schedule on the wiki today
  • Bronagh / Katja to send an email reminder about HUB8 today / tomorrow.
  • Any other business
    • ECCB 2014, July September 7-10
      • Might overlap with EMBO 50th / EMBL 40th No clash as ECCB is in September not July as we originally thought today.
      • Aidan proposed having an unseminar as part of this, on a topic similar to that of ISMB 2013: how to successfully organise a bioinformatics network.
    • VizBi
      • Will probably have a HUB the night before, on visualisation. Hope to include mention of this in VizBi emails.
      • Possible tutorial on user experience, esp. involving fonts with Tom Grace.
        • Bronagh said the deadline for applying for tutorials is Nov 1.
        • HUB meeting could be on this topic as well / in stead.
    • email again people on organisers list who are currently inactive, and ask them if they still want to be involved. If not, remove them from the list. Katja
    • Teaching - pitch at the end of HUB8 (what we've done so far, student feedback, helps your career, any ideas for courses?, want to get involved see us in the pub, etc.) Matt