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BiR gets to the next level and future prospects of Bioinformatics Review: where do we stand and what now?

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A piece of news highly awaited for just arrived on 8th of March, 2016. It was a moment when it was most required and also most unexpected. The news was that BiR has matured to deserve an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) code. It is great moment for BiR. Team BiR is proud to announce ISSN 2455-6645 (online) accredited to The Bioinformatics Review, an online science e-journal. I would like to re-emphasize our mandate and that is to be a reputed, peer reviewed Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Reporter e-journal for students, teachers and researchers. Eventually, BiR plans to expand its horizons to also publish full length research articles and review papers.

We thank whole heartedly to all our supporters, subscribers, contributors and everyone who has made us believe in who we are and what we can do, and relentlessly reminding us that it will happen. Quintessentially, “Hum Hongey Kaamyaab” (We Will Win) is a perfect depiction of what we went through and what we looked up to in down times. It took more than six months to realize this dream and now that it has happened, we at BiR realize the importance of quality work and of original creations to justify such a high accredition. We, as we have done in past, will strive harder and harder to justify our commitment to society and science without resting. At this juncture, I am reminded of my post-graduation days when I was introduced by my mentor to the field of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. At that point, all I could get was that it is highly interdisciplinary in nature, very much like Biotechnology but it’s actually much more than that. It is the future of biological sciences where in silico analyses of the data will drive and guide the wet lab experimentation part of biological sciences making it all the more productive and precise and thus efficient. That said, it strikes to me to introduce the basics of this subject to our school going, computer savy, net friendly generation who apparently is more fascinated by technology. To catch them young and train their minds for what they want to do in life would not be a bad idea, and that goes very well for Indian system of education in particular because there is a discord between students opting for medical/biological sciences and ones opting for Non-medical or Non-biological sciences. Bioinformatics, in particular, suffers from this discord as it is an amalgamation of biology with Computers and to a e large extent mathematics. I have seen many of my graduate students getting stuck in Bioinformatics mainly because they streamlined themselves at a very early stage and completely ignored even the basics of higher mathematics at secondary level. This is a major hurdle for taking up Bioinformatics as a career option. It is not that it is too late but the long gap after school leaving haunts them and most don’t dare to fill the gap. This goes equally well for students of Computer sciences and Maths who are good programmers and understand machine language but are deprived of even basics of biology. This discord, in my opinion has been a major cause of bioinformatics lagging as a popular subject in India and can only be resolved by careful informed decision to be made during selection of subjects at Senior secondary level so that there is no looking back later and secondly, by calling for reforms in education system. I am certain that the former resolution can be taken without any further delay while second option is a long term exercise and will takes its own course.

I would appreciate further discussion and feedback on this from our readers. Looking forward to continuous support…

Thanking all the readers and contributors once again…

Prashant Pant
Editor-in -Chief
Bioinformatics Review
9th March 2016

EDITORIAL: Welcoming BiR in its 2nd year

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With the dawn of a new year, BiR hopes to mark an important year filled with new developments and landmark achievements. This year’s resolution of Team BiR is to take this endeavour to a brand new platform of international standard and reputation necessary for spreading the good work. Continue reading “EDITORIAL: Welcoming BiR in its 2nd year” »

EDITORIAL: Pursuing PhD in Sciences?

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By Dr. Prashant Pant, Editor-in-Chief

All the low hanging fruits in sciences have been plucked to kingdom come and it’s time to review the education system. It is about time to inculcate certain very important and fundamental questions in the young minds to take an informed decision regarding their career.

Very recently, an article appeared in Nature on “Reform the PhD system or close it down” by Mark Taylor. This article emphasised on the very fact that most doctoral programs are just producing PhDs like anything and they have very poor absorption rate in Universities/Institutions and in corporate world due to deficiencies of the system and/or of the degree making them find no place. The article also talks about the medieval nature of most doctoral programs which have made them irrelevant and unsustainable with the growing number of PhDs churning out from the Universities all over the world. Two questions come to our mind. One, why this happened, and secondly, where things went wrong and who is to be blamed? Probable answer to the first question lies in the opening statement of this editorial and this was imminent. The second question however is more intriguing and needs discussion. Most doctoral programmes are designed so as to train students to perform research and analyses on a stereotyped mechanism which is not wrong but makes the scholars look at PhD as a lucrative option to get a doctor prefixed in their name without putting much pressure on their grey matter.

PhDs are not about filling pages under five chapters after a couple of years. PhDs are not about stereotype work done scholar after scholar in a laboratory to fulfil the mentor’s desire to become a self-declared expert on a topic. PhDs are (and should be) about questions, and that too, genuine ones. They are (and should be) about beautiful experimental designs attacking the question from all corners and trying to answer it. They are about thinking what, why and how something happens and how that piece of information can be taken further to serve another research question.

Our education system will wake up one day and will introduce revolutionary modifications crashing the dreams of many PhD aspirants. We should not wait for that day to shine upon us rather we should prepare our young minds to start thinking. So the question you should be asking to yourself when you are in your graduation or post-graduation is “Do you have it in you to do research and earn a PhD degree”. If you don’t ask, you are going to repent heavily. If you question everything around you and can work relentlessly to try and answer a question, then PhDs are for you. If you can connect radically different aspects and weave them together into simpler forms, then PhDs are for you.

Science can take you to any part of the world, good or bad, if you are ready for that, PhDs are for you. If you are ready to explore again and again, PhDs are for you. If you can give up other things in life for the sake of the questions, PhDs are for you. One should always remember, it is a (doctoral) degree in philosophy and not in sciences and therefore, more important is the question (that you ask) and the meaning/interpretation of the answer rather than plain science. So, start thinking!!

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