Call for Participation (BioVis@VIS)

Attended BioVis@VIS 2016! Please fill out our survey and tell us what you thought?

BioVis (papers,posters, and contest track) at IEEE VIS in Baltimore, Maryland, USA - October 23rd, 2016

Twitter: #biovis

  1. Aims and Scope
  2. Topics
  3. Submission Types and Criteria
  4. Workshop Format
  5. General Expectations (Ethics Guidelines)
  6. Review Process
  7. Important Dates
  8. Submission Guidelines
  9. Publications
  10. Awards
  11. Organizing Committee
  12. Steering Committee

Aims and Scope

The rapidly expanding field of biology creates enormous challenges for data visualization techniques that enable researchers to gain insight from their large and highly complex data sets.

The BioVis Interest Group organizes the interdisciplinary event BioVis, covering all aspects of visualization in biology. This workshop brings together researchers from the visualization, bioinformatics, and biology communities with the purpose of educating, inspiring, and engaging visualization researchers in problems in biological data visualization as well as bioinformatics and biology researchers in state-of-the-art visualization research.

We invite submissions of original research articles, poster submissions, as well as submissions for data visualization and redesign contests. Paper and Contest submissions can only be submitted to the BioVis workshop at VIS.


We invite contributions on all aspects of data visualization in biology, from molecular to cell, tissue, organism and population biology. Suggested topics for paper and poster submissions include, but are not limited to:

For the first time this year, the Biovis Data Contest and Design Contest will be organized as part of the SageBioNetworks DREAM challenge (

Submission Types and Criteria

Four categories of submissions are invited for BioVis 2016:

Papers - Papers. Workshop submissions consist of a complete one-page manuscript describing high quality research. Accepted manuscripts will be presented at the workshop. BioVis 2016 will publish its Proceedings through IEEE. Significantly extended versions of the workshop manuscripts will be eligible for publication in a BMC Bioinformatics Special Issue on Data Visualization at a later date, to be determined jointly with BMC. Three types of papers can be submitted, according to the following categorization:

Posters - Submissions consist of a brief 250-word abstract and supporting image that summarize your work. If your work concerns an interactive system then submitting a video is highly encouraged. Upon acceptance, you should submit a PDF of the final poster, so that it can be made available on the BioVis web site. Both the BioVis SIG meeting and BioVis workshop will feature poster sessions; upon submission you have to explicitly choose the venue (double submission to both venues is acceptable). You must present a corresponding poster during the designated poster session, and are encouraged to incorporate a demo or video into your presentation. You also have the opportunity to give a brief oral preview during a plenary fast forward session. Example topics include, but are not limited to:

Data Analysis Contest Entries - For the first time this year, the Biovis Data Contest and Design Contest will be organized as part of the SageBioNetworks DREAM challenge. Details about the contest will be released soon, along with deadlines for submission. All the entries to the contest will also be invited to be submitted as posters to BioVis (following the poster submission deadlines) and all accepted entries will be eligible for presentation at the workshop, either as short podium talks, or as data analysis contest poster or demo presentations. Data Analysis Contest entries deemed to make significant contributions will be invited to submit a manuscript to the thematic series on Biological Data Visualization of the journal BMC Bioinformatics, either as individual submissions, or as collaborative works collecting topically related submissions (to be confirmed), at the recommendation of the judges. By submitting a Data Analysis Contest entry to BioVis, contestants license the submitted materials to BioVis for dissemination and/or use in BioVis promotional materials.

Design Contest Entries - Submissions consist of a design of a figure along with a 1 or 2-page abstract describing the methodology behind the design. The abstract should include:

The judges will select a winner and runner-up. A subset of selected contestants will have the opportunity to present their design in a session during the workshop, and entries that make significant contributions will be invited to submit a manuscript to the thematic series on Biological Data Visualization of the journal BMC Bioinformatics, in collaboration with the Data Analysis Contest. All accepted entries will be eligible for presentation at the workshop, either as short podium talks, or as design contest poster or demo presentations.

Note: Submissions to each of the Papers, Posters, and Contest tracks are independent. If you would like to present a poster about your contest entry or on the same theme as your manuscript, please make a separate submission of each type, as appropriate. Likewise, if you have strong design elements in your data analysis contest entry that you think would be competitive in the design contest, please submit separate entries to each contest for each aspect of your work. More information about each category of content and the various submission guidelines can be found on

Workshop Format

The workshop will be a one-day single-track event at VIS. The event will feature keynote and invited talks, paper sessions, contest and design entries presentation, and posters/demos. Primers acting as tutorial introductions to visualization topics will be provided. BioVis will further run a SIG half-day meeting at ISMB. The SIG will feature invited highlight presentations and poster presentations.

General Expectations (Ethics Guidelines)

At least one author of an accepted submission must attend the conference to present the work. To avoid potential conflicts of interest when assigning reviewers, the complete list of authors must to be provided when submitting your manuscript. You have the option to submit an anonymized manuscript file, in which case the list of authors will not be communicated to the reviewers. Adding additional authors after the final notification of acceptance will not be permitted.

All submissions will be treated as confidential communications during the review process, so submission does not constitute public disclosure of any ideas therein. Submissions should contain no information or materials that will be proprietary or confidential at the time of publication (at the conference), and should cite no publications that are proprietary or confidential at the time of publication.

Any use of copyrighted material and devices of proprietary nature will be the responsibility of the presenters.

Contestants will also use the contest data in the spirit of academic collaboration and inquiry. The use of patented and proprietary solutions and software will be permitted for demonstrating the results in a forum at the workshop. However, it is encouraged that the final submission include open-source code distribution and anonymized data to foster academic collaborations.

Our workshop will adhere to the VGTC ethics guidelines for reviewers that can be found at

Review Process

Paper submissions will be managed by the Papers Chairs and sent to external reviewers - from both the visualization and bioinformatics communities - to evaluate the works’ novelty and significance. You have the option to have your work reviewed via a double-blind process; to do this, simply be sure to exclude all identifying information in the submitted manuscript file, ensuring that the reviewers will not know the identify of the authors. Otherwise, the review process will be single-blind, i.e. the reviewers will know the identity of the authors, but the authors will not know the identity of the reviewers.

Poster submissions will be reviewed for relevance and interest to the BioVis community by the Poster Chairs.

Data analysis contest entries will be reviewed for relevance by the Contest chairs. Accepted entries will be invited to present a contest poster or demo at the workshop. Accepted entries will further be peer-reviewed for contribution and technical merit by external reviewers from the BioVis Program Committee, and judged for awards by a panel of experts from relevant visualization and biological domains. Judges will evaluate submissions on criteria including, but not limited to accuracy, visualization or biological contribution, and design and usability, and will select winning entries, as well as recommend entries for short podium presentations and for invitation to a special issue of a journal. Entrants should note that accuracy will not be the sole determinant of judging, and that significant and novel contributions to specific aspects of, or sub-problems within the overall problem, will be viewed favorably. Entrants are encouraged to explicitly state their entries’ areas of contribution to facilitate appropriate review.

Design contest entries will be judged by visualization and domain experts. For visualization experts, entries will be scored based on: use of effective visual encodings; intuitiveness; and good aesthetics. Biological experts will score entries based on: intuitiveness; and utility. Given the subjective nature of this contest, the judges will provide a short summary of the score for each submission.

Important Dates

1-page IEEE workshop submission: April 29, 2016

BMC submission: May 6, 2016

Preliminary notification: June 27, 2016

Revised manuscript submission: July 21, 2016

Final notification of acceptance to BioVis@VIS 2016: August 23, 2016

Poster submission to the BioVis workshop at IEEE VIS: August 26, 2016

Notification of acceptance of posters for the workshop: September 9, 2016

Contest entry submission: TBD (In-line with DREAM challenge deadlines)

Notification of acceptance of contest entries: TBD (In-line with DREAM challenge deadlines)

All deadlines are at 5:00 pm Pacific Time (PDT)

Submission Guidelines

Authors are required to submit a 1-page (500-word) abstract for the conference due Apr 29th, and an extended, full BMC paper due May 6th. Note that due to copyright regulations, the 1-page abstract text must be completely different from the full paper text (including the BMC-style paper abstract.) Paper submissions can include full-color figures throughout. We encourage the use of digital video to enhance paper and poster submissions, particularly if part or all of the work addresses interactive techniques. Submission of working code and other supplemental material in order to increase the reproducibility of the work is also encouraged. The material for the contest entries should include all of the aforementioned content. It will be however, advantageous to include all material which will convince the reviewers of the specificity and topicality of the offered solutions. When possible, Open Source software should be provided for contest entries.

Links to details and guidelines for preparing a proper submission and supplementary data can be found on Authors must follow the style guidelines specified therein.


All accepted papers for the conference will be linked on the BioVis website ( In addition, all abstracts accepted into the conference will be considered for publication, once extended into papers, in the thematic series on Biological Data Visualization of BMC Bioinformatics. Decision about journal acceptance will be taken by the associate editors (i.e., the BioVis papers and publication chairs) and the BMC Bioinformatics section editor. Authors will be required to meet costs required by BMC Bioinformatics for open access; BMC Bioinformatics can also provide waivers in cases where authors have troubles meeting these costs (see

All accepted poster submissions will be made available on the BioVis website.

Data Analysis and Design Contest entries that are accepted, and deemed to make a significant contribution to the field, will be invited to submit full manuscripts for inclusion in the thematic series on Biological Data Visualization of BMC Bioinformatics.


The best paper award aims to recognize papers that result from a successful collaboration between researchers from both the visualization and biology communities. Reviewers will be queried on the review form with a question “Should we consider this paper for the best paper award? (yes/no/maybe)”.

Posters will be assessed for rewards by a judging committee during the poster presentation session.

Data Analysis Contest entries will be rewarded for creating either the best visualization among the competing entries, or for gleaning the most biological insights, and for other valuable contributions as identified by the judging panel.

For Design Contest entries, the judges will be be looking for a design that enhances the narrative and makes good use of visual emphasis. Focus, clarity and simplicity will be favored over extravagance.

Organizing Committee

General chairs

Paper chairs

Poster chairs

Publication chair

Primer & challenges chair

Highlights chair

Data contest chairs

Design contest chairs

Industry and fundraising chair

Website chairs

Publicity chairs

Steering Committee