On August 6,
2002 the ISCB held its annual public members meeting to review the
state of the Society as well as to offer members a chance to voice
their concerns and to make suggestions for the upcoming year. ISCB
President Phil Bourne presented a summary of the past years
accomplishments and possible future directions for the Society,
then opened the floor to the membership.
Among the first
issues discussed was the number of people who chose not to join
the ISCB when registering for ISMBdespite significant cost
savings for the registrant. Several members mentioned that many
companies and grants will not reimburse for professional society
memberships. However, others mentioned that the registration form
could be improved to emphasize that registering for ISMB as a member
is a benefit that pays for itself.
discussed at length was the format of future ISMB meetings, whether
or not to hold parallel sessions extending the poster sessions,
and the degree to which SIGs should be incorporated into the meeting.
In a show of hands, the majority of participants in the membership
meeting indicated a preference for parallel sessions.
Founder and current Board member Larry Hunter said, As the
AI community split, their meeting ran mostly parallel sessions.
Eventually the community diverged and the conference and journal
split upmuch to the detriment to the field. We need to be
careful about this.
spoke about the importance of software demonstrations to ISMB and
mentioned that they would like to see them more closely integrated
into the overall program. Terry Gaasterland, Board member and researcher
at the Rockefeller University, suggested that demos be reviewed.
Anything that were going to be spending time on should
be reviewed somehow, she said.
that was seconded by several members was the idea of providing a
five to ten minute slot for researchers with the best poster to
make a presentation. Another member mentioned the possibility of
recording sessions or providing video on demand.
up the topic of removing the special or S designation
of papers accepted for the ISMB issue of Bioinformatics. He said
that researchers may be hesitant to submit their best work for the
conference since papers published with the S designation
tend to carry less academic weight than regular papers. However,
the process for refereeing papers would have to be brought up to
a level that is as rigorous for regular papers, a sentiment echoed
by several other members, said Bourne.
Among the more
controversial issues discussed was the procedure for issuing society
positions such as the open source statement released earlier this
year. In general, the speakers wanted to change the procedure for
making statements. In a sentiment echoed by several other members,
Rick Lathrop of the University of California, Irvine, said, If
we are going to issue a statement about an emotionally charged topic
in the name of the membership, please poll the membership; use the