Genome Notes from the Tree of Life programme

Automated publishing of genome sequences for rapid dissemination

Register to join our community peer review pool

Wellcome Open Research, in collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute, are working on a project to publishing the genome sequences from The Tree of Life programme.

We are inviting all genomics researchers to join our community reviewer group to assess the genome sequences of thousands of species and help make these sequences discoverable and reusable for all. 

Together, Wellcome Open Research and the Wellcome Sanger Institute are developing new technology to provide a quicker, automated route to publication of genome sequences through Genome Notes published in the Tree of Life Gateway.

Keep reading as here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Tree of Life, including: 

  • Details of the project 
  • How our innovative peer review model works 
  • The benefits of becoming a reviewer 
  • How to sign up to the peer reviewer pool 
Researching genomics? We are looking for reviewers to support the Tree of Life programme and assess the Genome Notes published in the Tree of Life Gateway.
Sign up now

The Project

An innovative and streamlined publishing approach

The Tree of Life programme takes a streamlined approach to contextualizing genome sequences, through a new article type called a Genome Note to produce and publish content automatically, at speed 

Formulated ‘straight from the sequencer’, data descriptions of sequenced genomes are at the heart of this innovative publishing approach, supported with a combination of automated and community review.  

This approach will efficiently deliver all genomic information directly from the Wellcome Sanger Institute to Wellcome Open Research, allowing the Genome Notes to be rapidly produced and published in the Tree of Life Gateway at scale. 


Benefits of this approach

  • Rapid publication of more genome sequences compared to traditional publishing methods
  • Data is available for reuse by all immediately, without restriction, maximizing the discoverability of large volumes of genomic data
  • Everyone involved in the generation of sequences receives credit and recognition
  • Helps to examine the diversity of complex organisms and improve our understanding of evolution
  • Aids the conservation of biodiversity

Peer review innovation: automated review supported by community review

How it works

Genome Notes will undergo an innovative quality control process, with the sequences being subject to automated review and community review.

Automated review: Each Genome Note will have a review summarizing the genome completeness. This is data generated at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and will be part of the received Genome Note metadata. The review will show key genome completeness metrics and provide a link to more data for the readers. This type of review is based on the sequencing data, and will be available to view alongside the article after publication.  

Community review: Genomics experts continue the peer review process by undertaking community review for the published Genome Notes. They will verify the automated review and assess how complete the genome sequence is. This community review will not be as burdensome as a traditional review and will rely on a set of questions. Reviewers can also provide their opinion and further context if they see fit. 

Interested in learning more?

Here is a step-by-step infographic to walk you through both the automated and community review processes.
Download now

Why join our community reviewer group?

To support the rapid publication process, we are creating a pool of peer reviewers to review Genome Note submissions on the Wellcome Open Research platform. Community reviewers will be asked to verify the genome completeness metrics and assess if all the genomic data is made available. 

Wellcome Open Research has an open peer review model, meaning that peer reviewers’ names are visible on the article, along with their full peer review reports. The required review is not as demanding as the usual peer review process: there will be clear binary assessment criteria to aid rapid peer review of the publications.  

By joining our community reviewer pool you will be supporting a key aim of the project: disseminating the sequences as quickly as possible to allow them to be used by others.  

Who can participate?

We strongly encourage PhD students, Early Career Researchers (ECRs), and all other genomic experts to get involved in the Tree of Life programme, because it is only through collaboration that this project can succeed.

Previous peer review experience is not required – just knowledge in the genomics field!

Why participate?

This is a unique opportunity for you to:

  • Get involved in an exciting and innovative project
  • Get hands-on experience with peer review and sharpen your reviewing skills
  • Receive credit and acknowledgement for your work
  • Enable conversation within the research community with fully transparent peer review
  • Reduce the possibility of bias, as everything is openly available to all 

If you are interested in joining the Tree of Life community reviewer group, sign up below. 

Sign up to join the Tree of Life community reviewer group


Browse the Tree of Life Gateway

Visit the Tree of Life Gateway to explore examples of already published genome sequences.

Calling all genomics researchers

Read our blog to learn how you can join the Tree of Life programme as a community reviewer.
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