FlyBase Responds to Annual Survey Results
In March 2012 FlyBase carried out a user survey, receiving an unprecedented 1493 responses from participants ranging from PIs and research scientists to students and college teachers. The survey revealed that FlyBase is accessed for a wide variety of tasks, including experimental design, acquiring and analysing large data sets and teaching, to name but a few. Almost 70% of respondents indicated that they visit FlyBase several times a week, with 42% of those using it multiple times a day, confirming FlyBase as a vital day-to-day resource for the Drosophila community.
We were pleased to see that our search and browsing tools continue to be popular, with 83% and 78% respectively indicating that they use Jump to Gene and Quick Search frequently. Termlink, QueryBuilder and BatchDownload were all considered by many people to be vital to their work, but we were surprised to find that some of our users are unaware of these tools. For instance, although 40% of those that have used our powerful search tool QueryBuilder considered it to be essential, almost 25% of people weren't even aware that it was available. To see the full list of tools that are available at FlyBase, click on "Tools" on the homepage and select "Tools Overview". The response to our recent initiative to email newly-published authors to ask them to help prioritize their data for curation was also overwhelmingly positive, with almost 90% of those that had used the Fast Track Your Paper tool reporting that they were happy with the process and with the amount of data we have asked them to provide.
Whilst it is clear that FlyBase continues to play an integral role in Drosophila research, we are always looking for ways to improve and develop. We want to ensure that FlyBase is at the forefront of the ever-evolving fields of Drosophila genetics and genomics, and the survey is a valuable way of finding out what new tools and data-sets researchers would find useful. As such, we have already begun to implement some of the ideas that have proved popular in this year's survey. Over 40% of you indicated that you would like to be able to search for all of the features in a specified genomic region, and we have made this possible with our recently launched FeatureMapper tool. More information about using Drosophila as a model of human disease also proved to be a popular request, and we have initiated a set of revisions to the gene reports to provide this information. We have completed the first step of improving the links between Drosophila genes and their human orthologs.
User feedback is vital to the continued success of FlyBase and we would like to thank everyone that took the time to take part in this survey.