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Introducing ... the BioCommons

In the era of "big" biological data, developing the core informatics competencies of a sufficient number of bioscience researchers is one of the most significant challenges facing this research community globally.

The Australian BioCommons supports life science research communities with community-scale digital infrastructure developed and maintained in concert with international peer infrastructures. The scale of the informatics skills challenge is why the BioCommons places so much emphasis on training, with a range of workshops and webinars.

Through the BioCommons, researchers can gain access to sophisticated analysis capabilities such as Galaxy. Support for digital asset stewardship, data retention, integration and publication solutions is available, in an environment that fosters best-practice data standards and interoperability.

The BioCommons aims to provide enduring access to the digital techniques, data and tools needed to carry out world class environmental, agricultural and biomedical research.

Community involvement is welcome - see the topic areas in which you can get involved, such as genome assembly, genome annotation, metabolomics, microbiome analysis, phylogenomics, and proteomics. Find out more.

What's New

  • Standardising the reporting of literature searches in systematic reviews

    While comprehensive literature searches underpin systematic reviews, this component of reviews is not always well-described. The PRISMA-S (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses literature search extension) checklist offers advice on methods. Authors can find guidance on how best to report their search methods and information sources for reviews in this article.

  • Communicating statistics during a pandemic

    Statisticians have been in high demand by the media seeking commentary about COVID-19 numbers and projections to present to their audiences. This blog post, in which Professor Kevin McConway and Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter discuss their experiences of communicating statistical research to the media, provides a dozen useful tips for successful interviews and outlines the pitfalls to avoid when communicating statistics to the general public.

Hot Topics

  • Going for GLAM
    The Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector comprises a lot of useful data that researchers might want to use and combine, for example, getting data out of TROVE. The GLAM Workbench, built by Tim Sherratt, provides a number of pre-built, plug-and-play query and analysis tools so that researchers can obtain and interrogate a range of data without needing to write the computer code themselves. There is a help community if you start and get stuck.

  • Can you trust a machine?
    How do you convince users to accept and use data produced by a machine learning model in situations with serious consequences, such as law enforcement? The Can you trust a machine? Reflections on trust for GLAMR organisations online event on 24 February will use applications of machine learning from Data61's Investigative Analytics program on investigators to examine their applicability to libraries, archives and museums. Register for the event.

  • Digitally enhanced learning and teaching
    A new report has been released by the European University Association on digitally enhanced learning and teaching, especially in light of COVID-19's effects across Europe. The report acknowledges the benefits digital technologies bring to the student experience.

Top Tip

When you are researching, categorise content by keyword in reference management software such as EndNote or Zotero. This makes it a lot easier to find appropriate articles or chapters later. Apply multiple keywords if necessary, as many works can be relevant to more than one topic. If you are storing research articles on your computer, save the files in folders that correspond to the keywords you used - this makes finding the right articles easier.

What you might have missed on the blog

  • Is the future of Indigenous mental health care digital?

    Griffith PhD candidate Dale Rowland, a Wiradjuri and Biripi man, shares his thoughts about the potential use of virtual reality and other digital means of remote mental health care provision in this Q&A. Dale's research was sparked by the "unmet need for accessibility, serviceability and culturally validated assessments and treatments for First Peoples".
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