In Memoriam, James Taylor

On April 2nd, we lost James Taylor, co-founder of Galaxy, mentor, friend and inspiration. 

While we probably met for the first time in 2011, I really got to know James at the Galaxy Community Conference in Norwich, 2015. I still recall him sitting in the training room at TGAC, now Earlham, during the daily wrap-up of the hackathon, lounging in his chair. Not saying overly much, but distilling what he said to the essence. I was quite new in the community, yet there I was having beers in the evenings with the guys running the show. That was normal. And that’s how it has always been since. And how it should have been in the coming GCCs…

When I’m writing this I’m cautious of not exaggerating. I gave up on that. James made an enormous impact in the bioinformatics community. With Galaxy, he co-founded a platform that enabled many thousands of researchers to do reproducible analysis. Much of what I’m doing now, builds on his legacy. But even more importantly, his vision on Open Science touched many more people, most of them will never be aware of it. It fits his generosity.

James, you wanted Galaxy to belong to its Community, not just to the founders. This reflects your style of leadership, and the Community is in a good shape to face the future because of it. But having to write this now wasn’t part of the deal. I expected and looked forward to keep on working with you throughout my career.

We’ll find a way forward with the Galaxy Community. I’m not sure how yet, but I do know we’ll often refer back to you. And with time, the sorrow will dampen and we’ll think fondly back, glad to have known you.

Frederik