[BiO BB] The so called National Bioinformatics Institute (NBI)

marge marge marge_geek at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 15 19:18:18 EDT 2002

Hello everyone,

The first time I came across the name of  'National
Bioinformatics Institute' (NBI) (
http://www.bioinfoinstitute.com/default.htm ) was on
an ad by a vocational school for a certification
program in bioinformatics. I checked NBI's web site
and it sounded great and exactly what I wanted. I have
all the needed programing skills and I have most of
the required computational biology and sequence
analysis algorithms that are needed in bioinformatics.
Since I didn't have any professional experience in the
field, I figured some certification would be very
useful. I didn't know any people working in the
industry to consult so I decided to register in one of
these programs. There are many schools offering such
programs leading to NBI's "certified bioinformatics
specialist" (CBS) and it seems that it has become
popular . For example, 

These schools are good for people wanting to get
certified in IT fields. The level and standard of what
they teach is not very high but at least the
certification exams are written and administered by
companies like Microsoft, Sun, Oracle, Cisco, etc. 
However, for bioinformatics, this NBI outfit sounds
very suspect to say the least and I am afraid tens of
people are wasting lots of money on programs and

The first thing I noticed about NBI's material was the
FAQ. It was copied from bioinformatics.org with no
credit or at least a link. So I decided to examine the
content of the web site further and it turns out that
nearly every thing on the site is copied from other
sources with no trace of credit or acknowledgment. 

The sections titled "Bioinformatics Resources",
"Genomics", "Education", "Employment", "Software",
"Pharmaceutical Companies" are copied from the
"Biotechnology Information Directory" Section of  "The
World Wide Web Virtual Library" : 


The section titled "Job Market News - Bioinfo Events"
is copies (not links) of  articles from other sources
(including the copyright notice and logos of the
original publisher.) 

If copying links and FAQS without credit is not bad
enough, it gets worse! The documentation of their own
certification program, 


is copied from bioninformatics.ca (with few words
changed) : 


NBI also just started a chemoinformatics certification
program but, you guessed it, the material on this
program seems to be swiped from elsewhere. The section
titled "chemoinformatics resources" is exactly the
same as this page at Indiana University: 


The material on "what is chemoinformatics" and
"chemoinformatics certification" also appears on NC
State' s computer training unit: 


but I am not sure who is copying from whom in this

The person(s) behind NBI might be qualified or even
experienced in bioinformatics and the exam might be
very good but judging from the material on the web
site, I wouldn't hold my breath. I have decided not to
take the exam although I paid for the program (not for
the NBI exam luckily!). I don't think any of the
people registering in these course and paying $400 to
NBI for the exam know any of the info I just posted.
If you get a chance to publicize how NBI seems not to
care about ethics and plagiarism, please do. 


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