This is a followup post to The Biostar Handbook. A bioinformatics e-book for beginners. and I would invite discussions and comments on the process or content here rather than on the announcement post.
Teaching bioinformatics data analysis and writing the Biostar Handbook clarified a lot in my mind about what bioinformatics is, what biologists need to know, and how to get there.
The main challenge is the rapid evolution (and decay) of methods and know-how. Bioinformatics is not suited at all to the traditional teaching methods where the actual content of most books don't have to change for decades.
This is what I am trying to achieve with the handbook - it is "living" book, one that may look very different next year, but it will also work like a software. In the future you can roll back to the good old 2016 to look at the same type of data analysis and say, wow I can't believe we used to do THAT.
You can be a part of this, you can join this effort. We are doing it either way. It is time to fix the way we teach bioinformatics.
Volunteer to contribute to the handbook and you get access to it right away for free. Become a regular contributor and you'll become someone with a weight and an influence on what we do and how we do it. I want to build an organization, Biostar, to be like Software Carpentry but one that focuses on bioinformatics training, certification, education and community.
We have many components working well. Biostar was a forum I built for a bioinformatics class that I was teaching. Students would hang out here during the semester then move on. Today, seven years later? Look at the bottom left corner, 1676 IP addresses visited in the LAST hour.
The same story will play out with the Biostar Handbook - I built after five years of teaching bioinformatics and finally it coalesced into what I think is and can be the best resource of this kind. It has many flaws and we'll be working to correct them it will take some time, but everyone that bought the book will benefit from that.
If you want to contribute send me an email and we'll add you to our team and you'll get access to the repository that stores contributions. You can do big things or small, just proofread (provided you are skilled enough) - that's extremely valuable as well. In general I invite everyone to think if they would like to participate.
In way this is sort of a mixture of startup + kickstarter.