User Advocacy group summary (Retired)

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GO Advocacy Working Group Report 17th May 2006


What is the group’s purpose?

The purpose of the Advocacy group is to establish lines of communication between the scientific community and the GO Consortium. The goal is to ensure that the GOC does not become insular and remains receptive to the needs of the scientific community. In addition, open lines of communication will increase the awareness and usefulness of GO in the scientific community.

What makes this group necessary and unique?

It is one of the priorities of the GOC, as defined in the grant, to ensure that GO remains useful, relevant, and accessible to the scientific community. This group is unique because it is concerned about the interaction between GO's user group and the members of the GOC and how those interactions can foster a good relationship.

The user group can be divided into distinct communities, each with unique challenges.

The first community includes the current GO users. The increasing number of publications that reference GO indicates the growing use of GO. However, GO is not a static project: more genomes are being annotated using GO; the ontologies are being refined; and tools are being developed and enhanced to analyze and view these annotations and the ontologies. Therefore, a challenge is to transparent about any major changes and effectively communicate them to current users of GO.

The second community includes members of the scientific community who are interacting with members of the GOC at meetings, workshops, presentations, etc. These users may not already be aware of GO or how GO can aid their research. We should proactive in promoting GO via training, teaching, and promotional material. A challenge is to identify and address the hurdles that scientists face in understanding GO in order to increase the general awareness of GO in the scientific community.

And finally, the third community includes the scientific community whose only interaction with the GOC is via our web presence. For many future users of GO, this may be the their first encounter with GO. A challenge for this group is provide a clear and integrated set of tools and documentation for continuity of the GO experience.

What is the lifespan?

The Advocacy group will endure for the life of the project.

Group Leaders

  • Eurie Hong (Saccharomyces Genome Database, Stanford )
  • Jane Lomax (GO Editorial Office, EBI)


What are the key deliverables of this group?

The key deliverables include the following three major areas: web presence, teaching/training material, and promoting GO to the scientific community.

For many users, the GO web site and AmiGO may be their first encounter with GO. Therefore, the following improved accessibility of information available on the GO web site and continued development of AmiGO will be key deliverables of the Advocacy group.

In addition, there needs to be clear channels of communication with the GOC for those who have questions. And these questions need to be answered in a timely manner.

Specific deliverables regarding GO's web presence:

  1. Improve organization of the GO web site, and make compliant with web accessibility guidelines (WCAG)
  2. Improve AmiGO
    1. create more web-based analysis tools (such as web map2slim)
    2. specific suggestions listed on SourceForge tracker
  3. Integration of (aka GO web) and
    1. create better links between the two
    2. use same style sheet for both
  4. Increased use of the help address
    1. replace various contact information with
  5. Add teaching materials
    1. create web-based Flash tutorial for new users
    2. use website to distribute teaching materials for external and internal GOC use

Members of the GOC are frequently asked to give talks about GO or the use of GO at their respective databases. The audience could be any of the following: undergraduates/graduate students, biologists, or power users. The Advocacy group can spearhead the development of teaching and training material that can be used as a framework for talks, demos, and tutorials given by members of the GO. In addition, GO is presented by members of the scientific community in classroom settings or during scientific meetings. An additional benefit is that other members of the scientific member can use these materials in order to facilitate the teaching and presentation of GO.

Specific deliverables regarding teaching/training material:

  1. Assess current information already available
  2. Improve accessibility and organization of material already available
  3. Develop slides or presentations describing GO on a general level
  4. Develop training material or tutorials on how to use GO

In order to effectively communicate with the community, the GOC needs to proactive in establishing and maintaining relationships with the scientific community. This includes methods to disseminate developments and changes in the GO to a significant proportion of the user community as well as attending meetings and giving workshops when needed.

Specific deliverables regarding promoting GO to the scientific community:

  1. Quarterly newsletter
  2. Identify key scientific meetings that should be attended by GO

What criteria are used to set priorities?

Priorities for each activity will be set based on feedback from the community balanced with the overall goals and available resources of the GOC.


Although specific people are involved in specific tasks, there is no unifying task that requires a core group of members. It's our role (Jane and Eurie) to coordinate the efforts and provide resources to equip the members of the GO, but everyone needs to serve as an advocate while at meetings they attend.

Current working groups associated with the Advocacy group include the AmiGO working group and those involved with editing the newsletter. Other working groups can include the Web development working group as well as working groups to develop teaching and training materials as needed.

Meeting calendar

Currently, Jane and Eurie are scheduled to talk via phone once a week to ensure progress and coordination of projects. Any additional coordination will occur over email prior to and following the phone call.

Each activity may have different schedules based on their time line. These details will be defined within the scope of each working group's plan.

For the newsletter, we will explore a Wiki for internal notes on how to do the newsletter. And explore an IRC chat for those involved in putting together the newsletter.

Metrics of success

What are the group's objectives

The group's objective is to be proactive in communicating GOC developments to the community so people know who we are and what we do. We want to increase user awareness in the scientific community. In addition, the group's objective is to act as a broker between the GOC and the community in order to communicate community concerns to the GOC.

How is the group success evaluated?

The success of the group is evaluated based on meeting milestones for key deliverables and metrics for usage.

Milestone dates and a record of development will be maintained for the following projects:

  1. AmiGO and GO website: time frames and improvements determined by the AmiGO working group
  2. Quaterly newsletter: scheduled publication dates are February, May, August, November

The awareness and usage of GO in the scientific community can be measured by the following metrics:

  1. Usage statistics for AmiGO usage
  2. Usage statistics for the newsletter
  3. Identification of top referrers to AmiGO
  4. Number of email sent to
  5. The number of publications using GO that are published in PubMed

It is more difficult to evaluate success in obtaining and meeting user's needs. Several methods could be:

  1. Survey users before and after a workshop in order to determine what their questions were before the workshop and if their questions were addressed during the workshop
  2. Do a general survey similar to the one done before the grant
  3. A decrease in queries asking "How do I ..." to go-help mailing list


The major linkages are to the working groups that will be coordinated by Jane and Eurie. These working groups include: the AmiGO working group and Web development working group.

In addition, we need to ensure that there is no overlap in the development of training material that can be used by the Outreach group. There is a relationship between the groups that users who are first introduced to GO via promotional materials and our web presence become future contributors of annotations. And the Outreach group uses materials developed by the Advocacy group and provides feedback from new annotating groups about the hurdles encountered when learning about GO.

Finally, there is a linkage with the entire GOC in order to incorporate feedback members receive at meetings into the greater goals of the Advocacy group.


Each activity will have a different process that will be defined within their own working group's plan.

What are the key decisions?

How are decisions made?

What is the flow of choices?

The major decisions to be made are:

Which tasks to do first? Which groups to target for meetings?

These decisions will be made in conjunction with the PIs and the broader GOC

What tools might be used to make this more efficient?

We would like a Wiki for internal documentation on how to write up a newsletter and provide templates.

We would also like a license for Flash to develop the online tutorials.

User Advocacy group main page