Monday, November 01, 2010

Too many Bioinformatics software? How to choose and take home a very good tool?

Bioinformatics mesmerizes us these days. I recall there weren’t many tools a decade ago. But today there are umpteen tools all over the web that are available for the community. It’s really a daunting and a challenging task to choose the one that fits for your research. The following steps may be followed on how to choose a tool

1. Understand the algorithm and intricacies behind the functioning of tool. This will help you to understand if the tool you are to work would solve the purpose. If needed discuss with your colleagues on questions/issues pertaining to it.
2. Always try to comprehend the advantages and pitfalls; understand if the tool has a tendency of being novel.
3. Always try to use a tool that has been tested/validated/trained on various datasets. Training and testing proves very important for the tool to have a high impact.
4. Always go through the entire article corresponding to the tool. If you have too many tools across the aspect you are searching, why don’t you just end up reading abstracts and conclusions of those articles and then sort your articles?
5. Understand the fundamental algorithms besides going into pertinent details/options/categories/tools. This would enable you to make the best choices for particular research interests.
6. The tool cited in a high impact journal doesn’t always necessarily mean that it is the best. You may try to use other tools and write pros and cons of all the tools across the features.
7. Finally, if you don’t like any feature, why don’t you make a high impact on that research in developing a tool? Of course, you need to be a smart bioinformaticist for that :-)