Call for Participation

Poster poster submitters please note: A shorter version of the CFP specifically for abstract submissions is available here.

(1) Aims and Scope

The rapidly expanding field of biology creates enormous challenges for computational visualization techniques for enabling researchers to gain insight from their large and highly complex data sets.
The goal of the Symposium on Biological Data Visualization (BioVis) is to establish a premier international and interdisciplinary event for all aspects of visualization in biology. The Symposium aims at bringing 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.
The symposium will serve as a platform for researchers from these fields to increase the impact of visualization approaches in biology. The breadth and diversity of biological research topic areas will enable researchers from all parts of the visualization community to contribute to this effort and the symposium will provide an excellent opportunity to initiate interdisciplinary collaborations. Finally, it will provide an outlet and training ground for young and freshly minted visualization researchers with a keen interest in problems of biology and provide a venue for researchers in biology and bioinformatics to share pressing visualization challenges and potential solutions in their fields.

(2) Topics

We are looking for contributions on all aspects of visualization in biology. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Genome and sequence data, including genomic variation data
  • Multivariate omics data (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.)
  • Phylogenetic data
  • Biological networks and pathways
  • Biological Ontologies
  • Structures (e.g., protein or RNA structures)
  • Visualization of image data, such as microscopy or radiological data
  • Integration of image and omics data for systems biology
  • Modeling, simulation, and visualization of biological systems
  • Visualization in neurobiology and developmental biology
  • Systems and software frameworks for biological visualization
  • Integration of visualization in biological workflows or collaborative processes
  • Visualization and visual analytics of integrated data sets
  • Usability of visualization by biologists
  • Creation and visualization of biological atlases and metadata
  • Processes for interdisciplinary collaboration between biology and visualization.
  • Visualization and visual analysis of eQTL data (see related information on the Contest web page on

(3) Symposium Format

The symposium will be a two-day single-track event with keynote and invited talks, papers sessions, contest entries presentation, panels, and posters/demos. Tutorial sessions, in the form of primers, for  bioinformatics, biology, and visualization researchers will be organized.

(4) Submission Types and Criteria

Given the goal of bringing together members of the both the biology and visualization communities for discussion, the symposium solicitation is purposefully broad and open minded to diverse types and lengths of submissions. Authors are encouraged to self identify the intent of their submission. Each paper will be handled in the review process and given appropriate time and venue at the symposium in accordance with its stated intent and length. Types of submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • Detailed reports of original research
  • Highlights about relevant previously published work with some additional insight
  • Descriptions of work in progress and preliminary results
  • Experience reports
  • Demonstrations of new systems, perhaps including distribution of working code
  • Descriptions of analysis challenges of a newly published dataset, potentially as a challenge to the visualization community to help produce solutions

Authors should indicate the intended publication type of their submissions, as one of three categories:

  • Papers: Up to 8 page papers describing high quality research that is not necessarily fully completed but offers some new insight. Selected papers will have an opportunity for an extended and refined invited follow-up submission (see Section 9). Authors will have an oral presentation in a session with an emphasis on discussion with the audience.
  • Posters: Submissions consist of an up to 2 page extended abstract summarizing the authors’ work. Posters are meant to support an exchange of ideas and can be based on work-in-progress. Authors must present a corresponding poster during the designated poster session, and are encouraged to incorporate a demo or video into their presentation. All authors have the opportunity to give a brief oral preview during a plenary “fast forward” session. Authors of selected posters will be invited to provide a longer oral presentation at the symposium.
  • Contest Entries: Submissions consist of an up to 4 page extended abstract summarizing the contest entry. Supplementary material is also welcome in form of Powerpoint slides, software virtual box images and/or binary distributions, technical reports, and supporting manuscripts. A subset of selected contestants will have the opportunity to present their work in a separate session during the symposium. 

More information about each category of content and the various submission guidelines can be found on the submission page.

(5) General Expectations (Ethics Guidelines)

At least one author of an accepted submission must attend the conference to present the work. When submitting your paper you will be asked to provide a complete list of authors even when submitting an anonymized version of the manuscript. This is required to avoid potential conflicts of interest when assigning reviewers. Adding additional authors AFTER the acceptance of a paper is unacceptable and 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.

Authors of poster entries will also abide by similar guidelines. 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 Symposium. However, it is encouraged that the final submission include open-source code distribution and anonymized data to foster academic collaborations.

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

(6) Review Process

Reviewers from both visualization and bioinformatics communities will be involved in the review process. Paper and poster submissions will be evaluated by external reviewers organized by the Papers and Posters Chairs, respectively. Papers will be reviewed for novelty and contribution, while posters will be considered for their quality and value to the symposium audience. Contest entries will be judged for their contribution to the state-of-the-art in visualization, and in their ability to provide biological insights. The review committee for the contest entries will draw upon the existing BioVis reviewers while recruiting others from various pertinent research communities in biology and bioinformatics.

(7) Important Dates

  • Paper submission: Monday, April 30, 2012 
    Notification of acceptance of papers: Thursday, June 20, 2012
  • Poster Entry submission: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
    Notification of acceptance of posters: Friday, July 27, 2012 
  • Contest Entry submission: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
    Notification of acceptance of contest entries: Friday, July 27, 2012
  • Camera ready copy: Saturday, August 25, 2012 
    Extended Journal Format Submission: TBD

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

(8) Supplemental Material and Formatting Guidelines

Paper and poster submissions can include full-color figures throughout. We encourage the use of digital video to enhance the submission, 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. Open-source software should be included for all contest entries. If open-source solutions cannot be included, the contestants should provide sufficient rationale while providing an appropriate collection of binaries and executables.

The review process for the paper track will be optionally double-blind for those who want to submit their work anonymously. When submitting for double-blind reviewing you are asked NOT to include any identifying information in the submission. Otherwise, the review process will be single-blind, i.e. the reviewers know the identity of the authors, but the authors do not know the identity of the reviewers.

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

(9) Publications

The symposium proceedings will consist of all accepted papers and will appear in the IEEE Digital Library. Accepted poster and contest submissions will be included in the electronic conference proceedings and made available on the symposium website.

To increase the visibility of visualization within the bioinformatics and biology communities, a selection of the best accepted papers and contest entries will be invited to be published in expanded form in an open-access, peer-reviewed bioinformatics journal such as BMC Bioinformatics.

(10) Submission

Details on how to submit papers, posters and contest entries are provided on the submission page.

(11) Paper, Contest, and Poster Awards

Best paper and poster prizes will be awarded. Submissions that resulted from a successful collaboration between researchers from both the visualization and biology communities will be especially regarded. Reviewers will be queried on the review form with a question "Should we consider this paper/poster for the best paper/poster award? (yes/no/maybe)". Contest entries will be rewarded for creating either the best visualization among the competing entries, or for gleaning the most biological insights. Another prize will be awarded for best overall entry.