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Software collection: Open Access meets Open Source in PLOS Computational Biology

PLOS Computational Biology is proud to present its collection of Software articles. The Software section was launched in 2011, with the express purpose of fostering the creation of open source software that can be adapted and reused by the communities of computational biology and bioinformatics. With the launch of the collection, the previously published articles are grouped together for the first time, which will allow for their easy access by both scientists and the general public alike. The collection includes seven existing Software articles as well as an editorial by PLOS Computational Biology Software Editors Andreas Prlić and Hilmar Lapp, published yesterday. New Software articles will be added to the collection as they are published.

Image credit: PLOS

The topics of these Software articles are as varied as the topics covered by PLOS Computational Biology: from an algorithm that can produce chemical reactions in silico for use in pharmaceutical development, to software that tracks the movement of rodent whiskers. This diversity is as essential to the Software collection as its dedication to Open Access content.

What makes Software possibly more distinctive than other collections is its focus on utility, as well as content. The articles not only present novel biological insight, but also promote open reuse, redistribution, and modification of the scientific software – software which, according to the criteria for publication, must use a license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The combination of Open Access and Open Source can only help push the development of computational biology’s many diverse fields.

Another goal of the Software collection is to bring recognition to the developers of software. As Andreas Prlić and Hilmar Lapp state in the collection’s Editorial, “software and those who develop it are generally underrated by the academic system. This is our effort to bring more recognition to them”. It is therefore our hope that the launch of the collection will further encourage the submission of more quality work, the publication of which will reward these relatively unsung contributors to the world of computational biology.

You can visit the collection at

By Chris Hall

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