Welcome back! It’s Methods versus Insights – part 2.
In the last post in this series we discussed that there are too many methods in computational biology. Or to be more precise, that there are too many marginal improvements on existing methods.
Don’t get me wrong, methodological research can be great. Take this example: In 2002 Trey Ideker proposed a method to find active modules in networks. As so often, Trey was way ahead of everyone else identifying this problem, and –as so often– the method he proposed was a crude heuristic, without any guarantees on how close you come to the best possible solution. Some time later, Gunnar Klau and Tobias Müller together with their teams proposed an exact solution and implemented it in a software called BioNet. They got a price at ISMB for it and my group is using their approach in many applications. Substituting a heuristic with an exact solution is not a marginal improvement but solving a problem — computational biology as it should be.
But most methodological advances go unnoticed (unless you are at the Broad, get them into Science, and produce a video for them). Thus, the question for today is: If you are a computational biologist like me, how do you get papers published in the journals we like best?