Tree - Help us gardeningSome weeks ago my brother who works in the field of Neuroscience made me aware of a genealogical tree of his scientific community called NeuroTree. This inspired me to think about such a tree for science in general which might give interesting insights into the scientific community and reveal connections that usually only insiders have (or would like to have). Michael Kuhn pointed out that such an endeavor exists already. In fact the NeuroTree is a part of this general Academic Family Tree. Until recently it comprised 15 subtrees of different scientific communities. As a tree for Computational Biology/Bioinformatics was missing at that point I asked Stephen V David who is responsible for this project if it would be possible for him to set up a tree for the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics crowd. Additionally I proposed to use a Creative Commons license (we discussed different options – Stephen decided to take the CC-BY) for its data. Soon after that the freshly planted Computational Biology Tree (suggested abbreviation: CompBioTree) got its first branches and leaves. Michael happily joined me gardening. We both hope that we are not the only ones who want to see the tree grow so please feel free to contribute.

Additionally we are open for suggestions and feedback. I have also some points in mind to improve the tree and the underlying system. To mention some:

  • A new logo (the one I took is just a initial solution)
  • RSS for changes
  • SSL login
  • Show image source
  • Pubmed links
  • Show history of an entry
  • ORCID (if this ever comes true it would have many implication to this project e.g. they could be used a base id)
  • (RESTful) API
  • SVG generation
  • Frequent data dumps in different formats
  • Publish the software under a open source license

All of these points are nothing more than my wishes and have to be discussed with Stephen. I cannot promise anything at this point only that any feedback is welcome. Apropos feedback and communication: I first thought about creating a blog and a mailing list for updates about the tree but Micheal convinced me that this is not necessary currently. So far I created a Friendfeed group. If there is the need at some point maybe OpenWetWare could be a place to set up a blog and page for collecting ideas.

Image by Jim Linwood

2 Responses to “Announcing “Computational Biology Tree – The Academic Genealogy of Computational Biology””

  1. Anton

    That’s a really cool thing to do. I must say I’m a bit surprised that there isn’t a “Computer Science” Tree yet.

  2. Konrad Förstner

    Indeed. Many disciplines are missing. Hey, maybe start one for Computer Science or you subfield ! :) I still hope that once ORCID is around all this will become much easier so more trees will pop up.

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