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The SBOL standard is maturing, growing in complexity, and gaining wider interest in the bioengineering community.  A more formal organization of the community developing SBOL is required to grow and maintain the standard.  SBOL is an open-specification, open-source, community-based project.  The community developing SBOL has three organizational units:
  1. SBOL Developers Group
  2. SBOL Editors
  3. SBOL Chair
SBOL Developers Group

The SBOL Developers Group is a diverse community of individuals committed to using, improving, maintaining, and complying with the SBOL standard. Membership to the Developer's Group is open to all interested parties. Joining the SBOL Developers Group requires members to commit to:
  1. Attend the SBOL Workshops
  2. Deliver on time items they have committed to develop
  3. Participate in the ongoing discussions on the SBOL Developers mailing list
  4. Support the SBOL standard in their software projects
  5. Provide constructive feedback for improving the standard
Through these actions SBOL developers aim to develop, maintain, and comply with SBOL in their own projects. Individuals interested in joining the group should contact one of the SBOL Editors listed below.  Members of the Developers Group communicate via the sbol-dev Google Group.  Twice per year, members organize and meet at SBOL Workshops where face-to-face communication is possible and encouraged.

SBOL Editors

Documentation In order to keep track of changes, proposals and other elements of interest, a specific group of people, called the SBOL editors, will take responsibility for tracking, responding and processing requests for changes or additions to the SBOL specifications. SBOL editors will accomplish this by maintaining an open SBOL specification text through writing, editing, and coordinating changes to the document. Non-SBOL editors can also submit corrections and amendments (after discussion in the SBOL Forum) to the SBOL editors. The reason to have this formal structure is to put responsibility for maintaining the documentation in one place. Good documentation is critical to any standardization process.

It should be emphasized that the editors will not unilaterally decide on new functionality for the standard. SBOL is a community-driven standard. Suggestions and proposals will be decided by the SBOL Developers Group through rough consensus . Decisions regarding changes to the standard will be determined either by online voting or by rough consensus at face-to-face SBOL workshops (the preferred method). Online voting mechanisms are organized by the SBOL Editors.

There are currently 5 editorial positions (effective January 2012).

Software In addition to the specification document, there will also be maintenance of the SBOL software libraries. Maintenance can be coordinated between SBOL Editors and non-SBOL Editors who have a particular interest in software development. The reason to route part of the software development through the SBOL Editors is to ensure code consistency, adequate code commenting, and the development of tutorial material (possibly supplied by non-editors). In all cases, the editors will also ensure proper attribution of all contributions. 
In addition to the roles described above, the SBOL Editors will also take the lead in organizing subgroups concerned with SBOL extensions.
Other duties of the SBOL Editors include: maintenance of the SBOL web site, the source code repository, and electronic mailing lists; helping to organize (or delegating) the organisation of SBOL events; and coordinating the publication of SBOL in peer-reviewed journals.

Selection of Editors SBOL Editors are currently chosen by rough consensus at SBOL workshops. At the present time, SBOL Editors serve for a limited time period of two years.  The current SBOL Editors include:
  • Bryan Bartley, University of Washington
  • Jake Beal, BBN Technologies
  • Kevin Clancy, Life Technologies
  • Goksel Misirli, Newcastle University
  • Nicholas Roehner, University of Utah
They can be contacted at

Previous SBOL Editors include:
  • Michal Galdzicki, University of Washington
  • Ernst Oberortner, Boston University
  • Jacqueline Quinn, Google
  • Matthew Pocock, Newcastle University
  • Cesar Rodriguez, Autodesk
  • Mandy Wilson, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
SBOL Chair

Herbert Sauro was elected on 1/6/2012 by unanimous vote at the 6th SBOL workshop.  Additional information describing the guiding principles, responsibilities, and term of the SBOL Chair will be added soon. 

Policy on Diversity

SBOL is a community that believes in fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We encourage leadership through participation at working groups public speaking at workshops.