Welcome to the Biostar Handbook
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Do you offer refunds?

Yes. If the book does not contain the information you expected, then let us know, and we will refund your money. We don't even have strict return expiration deadlines -- we'll give you a few weeks to decide.

If you do request a refund, the only thing we ask for is a little patience. We are a small team with many other responsibilities. Sometimes we cannot immediately deal with administrative issues. Depending on our workload or travel arrangments it might take a few days to process your request -- though most of the time we will try to resolve it a lot quicker than that.

 Why isn't this book free?

We are believers in open science, we publish in open access journals and we share our code with the world using an open source software license. But this book is not suited to that type of "freedom". Read on to understand why.

Bioinformatics is radically different from other fields of science where good advice lasts for decades. In Bioinformatics the best practices that we promote here may, and most likely will, change by this time next year. 

Free content does not work for this field; it gets abandoned all the time. Whereas writing content is a creative and fun process - keeping it up-to-date not so much. No wonder the internet is full of outdated bioinformatics advice that you will run into all the time and why the inability to reproduce data analysis is such an acute problem. The time-consuming task of making the changes, recognizing and correcting problems, incorporating new versions, and keeping all code always working for you; that is job of its own.

That's what the price of the book contains. It is to cover that responsibility that ensures that the book we wrote keeps working for you month to month, as new versions or new methods are released. Trust us when we say it - that is a lot more difficult thing to achieve than you'd think. That effort may be invisible to you, and that is how it should be - but a great deal of work is and will be spent on that alone. You are paying not just for the book but - for a contract and a guarantee - that we will do our best to ensure that what we state in the book does indeed work as we say it does - and not just on the launch day - but when it really matters to you - even if that time comes days, months or a year later.

It is your time that we are saving - because time is the most valuable thing in the Universe - once spent it never comes back. Wouldn't you rather put it to good use?

Why did you write this book?

This book is not profit oriented. The authors would likely be able to earn more when applying the same effort towards solving the many challenges of life sciences.

As corny as this sounds we wrote this book to make the world a better place. We hope to bring more clarity, maturity and progress to the field - and we can only do that once we  establish a level of competence across larger audiences.

We may be able to "cure cancer" with bioinformatics -- but were not quite there yet -- it will happen only when a sufficient number of scientists are well trained in it -- before that we're just running in circles or worse.

Even though society loves to think about science as individual geniuses and their breakthroughs, in reality, scientific discoveries are the sum of the small and incremental advances of the many. On our end we want to help this process by assisting these thousands of scientists in becoming more capable and better trained -- that is what we find deeply satisfying at a personal level.

Can I contribute to this book?

If you feel that you could improve the content of this book, please let us know - we welcome all contributions and updates. The book is generated from plain-text Markdown files stored in a GitHub repository. 

How do I get notified of new developments?

Sign up to our mailing list. You should expect one email per month.

We plan to send a summary of the changes about once a month. The book itself is updated far more frequently. Daily, or even multiple times a day  :-)