The act of generating new hypotheses from existing data is a major component in the process of science. Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi has been quoted as saying "discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought." Recent advances in data sharing, combined with the expectation that publicly funded research will be shared, have led to projects that consist largely of secondary analysis of data. The practitioners of this craft may analyze or combine these data in ways that answer scientific questions that the initial investigators did not consider. In a 2016 editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine termed these people "research parasites."
The Parasite awards, given annually, recognize outstanding contributions to the rigorous secondary analysis of data. This practice of secondary analysis plays a key role in scientific ecosystem: conclusions that persist through substantial reanalysis are expected to be more credible; and analyses that extract more knowledge from underutilized data make the practice of science more efficient.
Or, phrased slightly differently:
I propose a new science award: "The Research Parasite Award is given to those who used someone else's data to do some really cool sh*t"— Iddo Friedberg (@iddux) January 22, 2016
The Parasites currently consist of two awards: the first recognizes an outstanding contribution from a junior parasite (postdoctoral, graduate, or undergraduate trainee), and the second recognizes an individual for a sustained period of exemplary research parasitism.
For either award, submit an application by October 14, 2016 at 5PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time) to firstname.lastname@example.org. An application requires:
The award winners will be recognized at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing each year, and listed on the PSB website, along with links to the winning papers.
Selection criteria (both awards) for the work in question:
Additional selection criteria for the Junior Parasite award:
Additional selection criteria for the Sustained Parasitism award:
The winners of each award will receive:
Financial support for the award has been provided by: Nature Genetics, Scientific Data, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Casey Greene.
Travel support is available to the recipient of the Junior Parasite award. Generous sponsorship from GigaScience and Scientific Data will allow us to cover the costs of economy airfare and hotel for the duration of the meeting. Support from GigaScience, Scientific Data, and Nature Genetics will allow us to cover the cost of registration for the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, where the award is announced.
GigaScience aims to revolutionize reproducibility of analyses, data dissemination, organization, understanding, and use through open access and open data publication of 'big data' studies across the life and biomedical sciences.
Nature Genetics publishes research that encompasses genetic and functional genomic studies. Current emphasis is on common and complex diseases and on the functional mechanism, architecture and evolution of gene networks.
Scientific Data is an open-access journal for descriptions of scientifically valuable datasets from a broad range of research disciplines – helping make research data more available, citable, discoverable, interpretable, reusable and reproducible.
Funding for the award is managed with administrative support from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine's Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics. If you would like to team up with us to celebrate secondary data analysis with a one-year contribution (e.g. via a travel award), please send an e-mail to Casey Greene. If you would like to contribute to an endowment for the award, please send an e-mail to Casey Greene and cc Torren Blair.
The committee has sole responsibility for determining the recipient of the parasite awards. As discussed in the conflict of interest rules, the committee and individual members are unable to comment on any unselected nominations.
Chair. Award Cycles 2017-2020.*
Award Cycles 2017-2019.*
Award Cycles 2018-2021.*
Award Cycles 2017-2018
Award Cycles 2018-2019.
*Selection of new committee members: For the three four-year term positions (current members marked with a star), the award committee will have the right to nominate new members, and the PSB organizers will have the right to confirm selected nominees. For the two two-year terms positions, recipients of the Sustained Parasitism award will rotate on to the committee.
In the event that a committee member has a relationship described in rule 7 with one or more nominees, s/he should disclose that relationship to the other committee members and describe the nature of the relationship(s). The other committee members should then decide (without the conflicted committee member) whether the conflict is adequately mitigated by disclosure. In the event that a majority of the other committee members believes the conflict is not adequately mitigated by disclosure, the following procedure should be followed: (1) The conflicted committee member may not participate in the discussion of the conflicted nominee; (2) If the non-conflicted committee members feel a conflicted nominee should be an awardee, then those committee members should send a written description of the conflict and the rationale for their decision to the PSB co-chairs; (3) if a majority of the PSB co-chairs believe the decision has been improperly biased by the conflict, the conflicted nominee cannot be the award winner, and the committee will be tasked with selecting a different awardee.