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Finalists promote open access of materials and data.

By Kevin Davies

Feb. 1, 2008 | The Bioinformatics Organization ( has announced the names of the six nominees for the 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award. The winner will be presented with the award and deliver a lecture at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, on Tuesday, April 29.

The 2007 winner, Sean Eddy (HHMI Janelia Farm), joined a distinguished group of bioinformatics researchers recognized by Bioinformatics.Org and its some 24,000 members, dedicated to the open access of materials and data, including Michael Ashburnerz (Cambridge/2006), Ewan Birney (EBI/2005), Lincoln Stein (Cold Spring Harbor/2004), James Kent (UC Santa Cruz/2003) and Michael Eisen (UC Berkeley/2002). The six finalists for the 2008 award are:

Philip E. Bourne (Co-Director, Protein Data Bank, University of California San Diego) — Bourne is the founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Computational Biology, and co-director of the Protein Data Bank. He continues to develop widely used software tools including SciVee, a free scientific video delivery site (

James L. Edwards (Encyclopedia of Life, Smithsonian Institute) — Edwards has been an advocate for sharing of biodiversity data since the early 1980s. His latest project is the construction of an open-access Encyclopedia of Life ( 

Robert Gentleman (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) — Gentleman, one of the minds behind statistical tool R (, co-founded and developed BioConductor (, an open-source/open-development software project for the genomic data analysis.

Michael Hucka (California Institute of Technology) — Hucka is the head of the Systems Biology Markup Language team ( and the coordinator of the development of SBML, one of the first XML languages widely used in biosciences. .

Francis Ouellette (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research) — Ouellette was an early supporter of the PLoS community ( and has been a proponent of open access for work derived from public funding, e.g. Genome Canada (

Steven Salzberg (University of Maryland, College Park) — Salzberg produced several popular open-source bioinformatics tools (mummer, glimmer, TransTerm, Jigsaw, etc.), and helped start the Influenza Genome Sequencing project.


 This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.
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