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Biological information specialists for biological informatics

P Bryan Heidorn*, Carole L Palmer* and Dan Wright

Author Affiliations

Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

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Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration 2007, 2:1  doi:10.1186/1747-5333-2-1

Published: 12 February 2007


Data management and integration are complicated and ongoing problems that will require commitment of resources and expertise from the various biological science communities. Primary components of successful cross-scale integration are smooth information management and migration from one context to another. We call for a broadening of the definition of bioinformatics and bioinformatics training to span biological disciplines and biological scales. Training programs are needed that educate a new kind of informatics professional, Biological Information Specialists, to work in collaboration with various discipline-specific research personnel. Biological Information Specialists are an extension of the informationist movement that began within library and information science (LIS) over 30 years ago as a professional position to fill a gap in clinical medicine. These professionals will help advance science by improving access to scientific information and by freeing scientists who are not interested in data management to concentrate on their science.