BOSC Chair Nomi Harris speaking at BOSC 2017

BOSC Abstract Submission

BOSC 2021 will be part of ISMB/ECCB 2021, and will take place July 28-30, 2021. The conference will be online, and talks will be presented as videos.

Abstract submission will be through the ISMB/ECCB EasyChair.

Important Dates

  • May 6, 2021: Abstract submission deadline
  • May 27: Acceptance notifications
  • June 3: Late poster submission deadline
  • July 8: Recorded talks due
  • July 28-30: BOSC 2021, part of ISMB/ECCB 2021
  • CoFest: July 31-Aug 1 (online)
  • Submission guidelines

    What to submit

    Please describe how your work fits into the open source bioinformatics / open science ecosystem. We like to see examples of biological applications of your work, and a summary of the current and/or projected community aspect of your project.

    A 200-word short abstract (text only) is required for ALL submissions (talk and/or poster).

    If you want to be considered for a talk, you also MUST submit a 1-2 page “long abstract” as a PDF. Figures welcome as long as the total length is 2 pages or less.

    Your PDF should include the title, author name(s), open source license, and code or project URL on the abstract itself (even though this information is also requested on the submission form). Accepted abstracts are published on the BOSC website as-is.


    To be accepted (even for poster presentation), abstracts submitted to BOSC must be:

    Relevant: Your abstract must describe how your work relates to some aspect of open source software, open science or open data applied to biology or biomedical science.

    Available: Your code / data / materials (e.g., documentation) must be available at the URL you list.

    Open Content: Work discussed in BOSC presentations must be open source / open content, with a recognized license (which must be included in the repository). For abstracts about non-software products or projects (e.g., educational materials), these should also be made freely available with an appropriate open license. See below for more information.

    Updated: If you presented this work at a previous BOSC in any form (talk, demo, poster), your abstract must describe progress since the last BOSC presentation.

    Correctly formatted (see info at left).

    Additional criteria

    In addition to the requirements listed at left, we consider the following when selecting abstracts for short or long talks.

    Community impact: Please describe how your work fits into the open source bioinformatics / open science ecosystem. A summary of the current and/or projected community aspect of your project is very helpful.

    Novelty: Innovative approaches are interesting to hear about, but it’s fine to build on existing technology! If you can compare your approach with existing approaches, that’s a plus.

    Examples: We like abstracts with examples of how your approach works (e.g. a figure showing the output of a visualization tool, an example of software input/output, or benchmarks on relevant data).

    Runnable: Although we are happy to consider abstracts that describe early-phase projects, our reviewers are likely to look at your code and try to run it. Reviewers like projects that they are able to download and run, and that are well-documented and easy to use.

    How to Submit

    • Submission deadline: May 6, 2021
    • Submissions will be via the ISMB EasyChair (not yet enabled–check back soon!). If you don’t already have an EasyChair account, you will need to create one.
      • Once you sign in, you will see “Please select the track relevant for your submission.” Select BOSC (5th line down).
      • Later in the submission process, you will be able to specify one or two other COSIs/tracks that your abstract might also fit into.
    • 200-word short abstract is required for ALL submissions (talk and/or poster)
    • If you want to be considered for a talk, you also MUST submit a 1-2 page “long abstract” as a PDF. (Yes, we did suggest to ISMB that calling both of these things “abstracts” was confusing.)
    • If you submit for a talk but your abstract is not chosen for a talk, it will automatically be considered for a poster.
    • If your work is accepted for a talk, you can decide later whether you also want to present it as a poster.
    • Abstract template (optional): bosc2020-abstract-template (MS Word)
    • Submission is free, but to present your talk you need to register for ISMB/ECCB 2021 (see for registration fees and note about fellowships below).

    BOSC Open Content Requirement

    The Open Bioinformatics Foundation, which coordinates BOSC, is dedicated to promoting the practice and philosophy of Open Source Software Development and Open Science within the biological research community.

    For this reason, if a submitted abstract concerns a specific software system for use by the research community or materials, then that software must include a recognized Open Source License, and be available for download, including source code. Similarly, abstracts with a focus on data, analysis methods, and/or documentation must make these available in a manner consistent with Open Science standards, utilizing appropriate licensing and approaches that promote open sharing, reuse, and redistribution.

    See the following websites for further information:

    Presentation formats

    Talks chosen from submitted abstracts are generally either “long” (around 15-20 minutes + 3 minutes for question) or short/”lightning” (5 minutes). Authors can also choose demo or poster presentation. We are discussing how to make those work well in an online context.

    Please note that all presentations must be prerecorded by you (at least with audio and slides; video of you is optional). These recordings will be due before July 8.

    In the late round (deadline June 3), abstracts are considered for “Late-Breaking Lightning Talks” or posters. The LBLTs are grouped together in a single session, rather than being slotted into the themed sessions (which are already set in the first round). Abstracts submitted in the late round are not eligible for long talks.

    OBF Event Fellowships

    The OBF Event Fellowship program is aimed at increasing diverse participation at events promoting open source bioinformatics software development and open science in the biological research community. The fellowship can be used to cover registration fees, airfare, hotel, or remote participation costs up to a total of US $1,000. BOSC speakers are welcome to apply for a fellowship. We review applications twice a year, April 1 and October 1.