2019 Franklin Award Finalists Announced

By Bio-IT World Staff

March 14, 2019 | announced the finalists this week in the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences. Voting is open to members on , and will be open until Friday, March 15. The winner will be announced at the 2019 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo.

The award is named for Benjamin Franklin, who, as a scientist, inventor, and statesman, freely and openly shared his ideas and refused to patent his inventions. The founders of believe he embodied the best traits of a scientist, and we seek to honor those who share these virtues.

The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually by to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences.

The 2019 Finalists are:

Richard Durbin, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute & University of Cambridge

Richard is a long-time advocate of open bioinformatics. His early achievements include AceDB and WormBase, both of which are free. He was later involved in and supervised the early development of many open databases, such as Ensembl, Pfam and TreeFam.  He also helped to create open source software such as Samtools, GeneWise, and QuickTree, as well as open formats such as GFF and SAM. Richard is active in prominent research projects too, for example the 1000 Genomes Project. He was the most cited scientist in the UK between 2003 and 2007, and Richard has had substantial influence over education in bioinformatics.


Eugene Koonin, NCBI/NLM/NIH

Eugene is a co-founder of the journal Biology Direct, a pioneer open access and open peer-review journal (all reviews become published together with the final article). He is also an Editor in Chief and controls the review process in the field of computational biology.  He has numerous and varied contributions to both open access in bioinformatics and computational biology, e.g. PSI-BLAST and COGs (Clusters of Orthologous Groups).  His organization of the COG project opened up the field of comparative genomics, allowing many computational and experimental biologists a new avenue of access to enormous repositories of sequence data, as well as allowing investigators to make sense of their research areas in the light of evolution.  Eugene has published hundreds of articles in gold open access journals. He is also an editor of several, e.g. an editorial board member for BMC Biology and an editorial advisor for PLoS Computational Biology.


Aaron Quinlan, University of Utah School of Medicine

Aaron has a strong commitment to open source genomics research. Most significantly, Aaron has developed a large number of widely used open source tools for genomics including BEDTools, BamTools, PoreTools, Lumpy, Gemini, SpeedSeq, and several others, which collectively have more than 18,000 citations and an even larger number of users. These software packages are of the highest possible quality, with excellent documentation and support, and empower thousands and thousands of users to carry out sophisticated genomics analysis quickly and accurately for their research across the tree of life. Aaron also makes all of his training and classroom materials available open-source on his lab website so that others may benefit.


G.P.S. Raghava, IIIT-Delhi

Raghava's group has developed a large number of open source software which is freely available for scientific use. His group has developed more than 200 web servers and 30 databases in the field of computer-aided drug/vaccine design (probably the highest number of services developed/maintained from a single group in the world). His research group has published more than 200 research papers in reputed journals with total Google Scholar citations of 10,509. Some of Raghava's contributed websites are Open Source for Computer-Aided Drug Discovery, OSDDlinux and GPSR Packages, GENESIS, and Sysborg2.

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