February 1, 2004
Richard T. O'Grady
At the start of this year, AIBS took an important new step in fulfillment of its mission to advance research and education in the biological sciences. On 1 January, the Institute assumed ownership of the award-winning education Web site www.ActionBioscience.org, a powerful resource for K–12 and undergraduate educators as well as students and the general public. (The resemblance of the name to that of the long-established AIBS journal that you are now reading is a happy coincidence.) The site, created and admirably run for the past three years by a private organization in Florida, includes a growing bank of topical, accessible articles by distinguished scientists and some students on a wide range of biological subjects. The articles are organized into major subject themes in the biosciences that are of pressing scientific and societal impact; all are peer-reviewed, and many are accompanied by lesson plans written by professional educators and keyed to US National Science Education Standards, with vetted links to teaching resources published online elsewhere. Automatic e-mail alerts are sent out when new content goes online. Many of the articles are translated into Spanish. Editorial oversight of www.ActionBioscience.org is provided by AIBS publications and education staff.
Since its founding in 2000, www.ActionBioscience.org has attracted recognition for the high quality of its content and its ease of use. Scientific American awarded it a “best biology site” listing in 2003, and the previous year the US Department of Education’s Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education gave it an educational quality award. The site’s current emphases are biodiversity, the environment, evolution, biotechnology, and genomics; a “new frontiers” section encompasses a variety of topics representing science’s growing points. AIBS plans to grow the www.ActionBioscience.org site to make it even more valuable for both learners and teachers as biological knowledge grows and new topics of importance emerge. We will link the site with the online version of this journal at www.aibs.org/bioscience/current_issue.html. We also aim to make it a searchable node within the BiosciEdNet (BEN) collaborative network managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science at www.biosciednet.org.
These bold new developments at AIBS underscore our commitment to using the best methods available to accomplish the goals our founders envisaged back in 1947. Along with other exciting expansions of AIBS education activites in 2004, including increased staffing of the AIBS Education Office, we believe that www.ActionBioscience.org will be a vital education and outreach resource.
Richard T. O’Grady
American Institute of Biological Sciences