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ISCB Kicks off Contest to Improve Computational Biology Articles on Wikipedia

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LONG BEACH, Calif. — The International Society for Computational Biology has launched a competition that aims to improve existing Wikipedia articles about computational biology.

ISCB made the announcement at the 20th annual international conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology, held here this week.

The competition will be open to both individuals and groups, and prizes will be awarded for best contributions. The competition is intended to increase the quality of Wikipedia articles about computational biology and improve accessibility to this information via Wikipedia.

Alex Bateman, senior investigator at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, told BioInform that the contest will kick off officially at the European Conference on Computational Biology Sept. 9-12 in Basel, Switzerland, and will run for two months.

He said that about 1,100 computational biology-related articles have been selected for the contest and ordered according to their quality and importance.

Participants will be judged on a number of criteria including the quantity and quality of the contributions, for instance “the clarity and the depth of knowledge that the person demonstrates and the insight that they give to that subject,” Bateman said. Participants will also be encouraged to incorporate figures and photos that will help to illustrate the subject, he said.

Participants can edit as many Wikipedia articles as they would like to. They’ll be able to flag particular articles that they are contributing to. This will allow reviewers to judge improvements to the article by comparing the pages at the start and at the end of the contest.

The contributions will go through a review process during which the articles and their improvements will be ranked. The top-ranked reviewed articles will then be evaluated by a judging panel made up of a mixture of ISCB board members, ISCB student council members, and Wikipedia contributors.

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