A Note From
ISCB President Michael Gribskov
that the joint ISMB/ECCB meeting in Glasgow is upon us, I am astonished
that another year has passed so quickly. This has been a stressful
and busy year for ISCB and as the ISMB meeting represents the beginning
of a new one Id like to recap some of the notable events.
ISMB 2003 meeting was a resounding scientific success, but low attendance
resulted in a loss of money for the society. This has made it difficult
throughout the year to supply travel fellowships at the level we
have in the past.
Society membership dues have been restructured making the
subscription to the society journal, Bioinformatics, optional. The
practical result is that rather than simply paying most of the membership
fee to Oxford University Press to cover the subscription, ISCB now
retains the money for society projects. This greatly reduces our
dependence on the success of the ISMB meeting.
Many members have commented on the growing pains experienced
by the society journal. OUP and ISCB have worked hard to address
these issues and have made many positive changes that are resulting
in more consistent reviewing, higher quality papers, and faster
turn-around. I especially thank Phil Bourne and the rest of the
ISCB publications committee, and Claire Saxby of OUP for their efforts.
I also welcome the new executive editors Alex Bateman and Alfonso
As the society has grown, there have been many suggestions
for starting journals in new areas. In response to this interest,
ISCB issued a request for proposals for new society journals. Many
replies have been received and are under consideration by the publications
The joint meeting of ECCB and ISCB is a first for the society
and promises to be the most interesting ISMB meeting to date. This
years renewed thrust on bringing together experimental biologists,
computational biologists, and computational scientists is timely
and has reinvigorated the meeting. I hope that many of the changes
instituted this year will be retained in future meetings.
So what is our scorecard for the year? On the plus side we have
made it through a very difficult year financially and are well-poised
to move forward. Significant progress has been made in improving
the responsiveness of the society to member interests, although
much more remains to be done. On the negative side, we have not
made as much progress as many of us would like to see. Much remains
to be done especially in public affairs, education, special interest
groups and affiliated societies and in completing the reorganization
of the society. In the next year we will continue to work to invigorate
the ISCB committees and look forward to your participation.
In the end, it is all about the science. ISCB represents the opportunity
for everyone involved in computational biology, throughout the world,
to speak with a united voice and be heard. ISCB is and should be
a forum for the best scientific meetings and publications. In the
next years I hope to see our membership continue to grow
not just to be big, but so that our voices can be heard. And I look
forward to seeing the society sponsor a broadening range of the
best computational science in all regions of the world.
See you in Glasgow,