Educating current and future generations of computational biologists is one of the main objectives of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) and the society has come up with an interesting way to do this: an annual Wikipedia competition. Students and trainees can enter by editing existing Wikipedia articles with the aim of increasing their quality. The entries are then judged for clarity of writing, depth of subject knowledge, and quality of illustrative figures and photos. Last week, PLOS Computational Biology published a Message from ISCB launching the 2013 competition and announcing the 2012 winners. You can find out more about the competition on Wikipedia.
If you think combining computational biology and Wikipedia sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the PLOS Computational Biology Topic Pages project. As one of the official ISCB society journals, PLOS Computational Biology has a similar goal when it comes to education, and like the ISCB, we’re aware of the huge potential Wikipedia has for spreading knowledge. Topic Pages have been a feature of the journal since March 2012 and are intended to boost the coverage of computational biology in Wikipedia. The PLOS Computational Biology article acts as the peer-reviewed version of record, and on publication is uploaded to Wikipedia, becoming a living resource subject to the ongoing edits of the wider Wikipedia community. The authors are rewarded with a citation for their contribution to Wikipedia as a public source of knowledge on computational biology. You can view the current selection of published Topic Pages here.
At PLOS Computational Biology we’re proud to support initiatives to increase Wikipedia coverage of computational biology, and we enthusiastically encourage our authors and readers to take part in the contest!