Note: PLOS will be attending the ISMB/ECCB conference in Basel, Switzerland starting July 21. Stop by booth 7 and say hello. Lars Juhl Jensen, an Academic Editor for PLOS Computational Biology, will also be in attendance. Here’s a brief interview with him.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I was trained as a chemist but grew up programming, so bioinformatics was an obvious match for me. I started in the group of Søren Brunak, where I did my training including Ph.D. and then spent six years at EMBL in the group of Peer Bork before starting my own group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research in 2009.
Q: How many years have you been an editor on PLOS CB?
A: I’ve been associate editor on PLOS CB for 11 years.
Q: Why is PLOS CB important to you and the community
A: PLOS CB plays an important role in bridging the gap between the more algorithm-focused bioinformatics journals and the traditional biological journals, which rarely publish studies that do not have a wet-lab component.
Q: What is your area of study and why is it important?
A: My group has a strong focus on tool development, primarily related to biological networks and biomedical text mining. Network representations of the current biological knowledge and available data, including what is buried in the literature, is increasingly important for interpreting new omics data.
Q: What first drew you into the field?
A: With an interest in molecular biology and many years of programming experience, it was really a no-brainer to go into bioinformatics back when the first fully sequenced genomes became available.
Q: What are you most looking forward to while attending ISMB?
A: The most interesting sessions to me are the NetBio COSI and special session on text mining, which I am involved in organizing. Besides that, the poster sessions are always a highlight for me.
Q: Are there any trends in your field right now?
A: Deep learning is obviously a major trend in text mining. Other than that, the move towards open licenses on databases and tools continues to be strong.
Q: Why do you believe in Open Science?
A: In my experience sharing the tools we make already before publishing them is highly advantageous. If you already have a user base before submitting a manuscript, it only becomes easier to publish your work. Editors can see that it is worthwhile publishing, most bugs will have been sorted out before peer review, and the publication is more likely to get cited as soon as it comes out.