Galaxy Executive Board (GEB)

Keywords: Strategic emphasis, long-term planning and direction

The GEB is the top-level community governance structure, responsible for the overall direction and coordination of global Galaxy Project activities, to ensure coherence, efficiency, integrity, growth, and long-term sustainability.

These activities are executed in partnership with:

Mission Statement

The GEB focuses on activities that require global coordination. This includes:

  • providing authoritative project-wide, external representation;
  • leadership in scientific, technical, governance and community development goals;
  • supporting communication and global activity coordination for efficient use of resources and timely completion of milestones;
  • and arbitration among collaborators, users and communities.


Galaxy Executive Board responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

1. Ensure funding & program resources

Share and coordinate grant activities

  • Encourage sharing of grant text and resources
  • Identify and respond to project-wide needs
  • Coordinate global partnerships and initiatives

Record and report Galaxy Metrics globally

  • User metrics: numbers of users, compute metrics, etc
  • Scientific metrics: numbers of papers, numbers of grants, etc
  • Community metrics: number of trainings, number of contributors, etc
  • Resource metrics: supported datasets, number of tools

Defining membership in usegalaxy

  • Define requirements for other instances to join, e.g. compute resources, staffing, outreach, coordination, communication

2. Identify key technical developments

Prioritization to the technical roadmap

  • This is perhaps the most valuable technical resource available within Galaxy as it influences major development activities, potentially spanning many months or years of effort

Oversee Working Group Structure and Processes

  • Provide feedback and direction during working group updates

Encourage processes that promote global participation

  • Async reporting, scheduling meetings appropriate for multiple time zones

Partner with scientific communities to promote research and manage scientific debt

3. Promote the project via conference and training events

Galaxy Community Conference

  • GCC is our single most valuable in-person/hybrid event for bringing the Galaxy Community together
  • The GEB will evaluate and decide on host cities.
  • The GEB will also help support all aspects of the conference: overseeing the development of the scientific program, promoting attendance, supporting conference logistics (scheduling, meals, travel, housing)

GTN Smörgåsbord

This is Galaxy's largest coordinated training event each year with thousands of worldwide participants and is a major source of new users.

  • The GEB will commit resources to updating tutorials and polishing the platform for running a successful event.
  • Coordinate technical support for running the Smörgåsbord (eg, automatically validating tools and workflows are uniformly available on each usegalaxy.* service)
  • Build a Retention strategy to convert Smörgåsbord users into regular users

European Galaxy Days and/or US Galaxy Get-Together

  • The GEB will collaborate with Galaxy Europe or Galaxy US in helping organize and advertise the events, collecting feedback and ideas for future roadmap development.

Additional key events

  • Maintain a shared calendar of major events worldwide
  • Support participation and training at recurring events, including: Annual workshop at the Plant and Animal Genomes conference, the ELIXIR annual All Hands meeting, the international congress of genetics,and the European BioHackathon organized by ELIXIR in November.

4. Develop and enact both internal and external communication strategies

Maintain the Hub as the primary source of information for the project

  • Provide resources for maintaining the infrastructure necessary to publish the Hub website
  • Ensure key elements of success are publicized on the Hub, including an up-to-date list of working groups, major events, major successes
  • Maintain the Galaxy wikipedia page and other major descriptions of Galaxy

Encourage and help with writing and publishing scientific manuscripts

Ensure Galaxy Newsletter & Reports are created and suitably distributed

  • Coordinate the generation of reports and community communications, including GCC meeting reports, release announcements, etc.
  • Coordinate the creation of a periodic community newsletter
  • Identify key contacts from the leadership group to “own” content from their region/domain

Prepare the biennial Web Server issue NAR paper

Galaxy Executive Board Projects: 2023-2025

1. Grow and Support Communities of Practice (CoP)

Galaxy Community engages in a variety of scientific disciplines starting from the original focus on genomics to dozens of fields today. These focused communities have become known as Communities of Practice CoP. The GEB wants to grow and support the already established CoPs and help establish new ones.

To support CoPs, the GEB will commit resources for:

  • technical activities (e.g. developing a prioritized list of tools & workflows that need to be available and maintained in Galaxy, and/or support for integrating as-yet unsupported data formats and repositories),
  • training activities (e.g. developing tutorials and training events),
  • collaborating with the communities in their scientific pursuits,
  • providing fields with entirely new Galaxy instances to be deployed with access to unique compute resources (e.g. GPU/TPUs, quantum computers, etc) as required;

Additionally, to support the development of new CoPs, the GEB will commit resources for:

  • developing a streamlined process for CoP creation.

As CoPs strengthen, grow, and become well-established, they become critical collaborators and contributors, shaping the future of the project. They typically provide important professional effort, either for specific technical improvements to the source code, running usegalaxy.*, or large private installations. Examples include institutions such as BioCommons Australia, groups such as Galaxy Europe, and Galaxy installations at large institutions such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A goal for the Galaxy Executive Board is to recognize these powerful communities. The GEB will:

  • develop a process to systematically incorporate CoP feedback into the overall project priorities and roadmap development process.

2. Drive Flagship Projects

Galaxy benefits from major flagship scientific projects and papers such as (Maier et al, Nature Biotechnology, 2021) and Vertebrate Genomes Project (Larivière et al, bioRxiv 2023). Externally, these projects cement Galaxy as a state-of-the-art platform for scientific research in the global scientific consciousness and provide the strongest examples of the value of Galaxy for its users and the greater scientific field. They are also advantageous for securing funding and other resources for growing and maintaining the community. Internally flagship projects are useful for driving the development of new features: COVID-19 promoted massive enhancements to workflows and histories to work with very large collections of data; VGP has promoted the development of workflows that can scale to very large datasets with diverse datatypes and repositories.

The GEB will:

  • identify and promote at least one active flagship project at all times.

A natural source of such flagship projects are the CoPs.

3. Address Technical & Scientific Debt

In software development, “technical debt” is widely understood as the costs and efforts needed to modernize software with current techniques. It is an ongoing process to adopt the latest languages, libraries, and resources in pursuit of “clean code”. Within the last few years, Galaxy has made major strides to modernize and has greatly reduced our technical debt, e.g. FastAPI, SQLAlchemy. Vue.js. The reduction of technical debt has enabled several major new features in the past few years such as the successful deployment of the new History, the new tool form, and the new activity bar, among others.

“Scientific debt” is an analogous term highlighting the costs associated with the evolving landscape of science, which leads to out-of-date tools (e.g. TopHat), data (e.g. obsolete versions of 1000 genomes data), and tutorials (e.g. how to align 35 bp reads) that need to be updated on an ongoing process. Galaxy suffers from a large amount of scientific debt with a large number of out-of-date tools, workflows, datasets, and tutorials. This is a major threat to the Galaxy project: potential new users will see Galaxy as a legacy project, and current users will be frustrated by their inability to find current resources.

The GEB will commit resources to:

  • maintain a systematic record of the code, data, tools, and workflows to identify obsolete resources and commit resources to deprioritize, hide, and potentially purge such stale resources.

4. Create a sustainable governance Structure

The GEB developed organically from like-minded Galaxy advocates collaborating across continents. With the growth of Galaxy, in both its user base and community contributions, a clear, fair, and efficient governance structure is needed.

The GEB has already introduced a new (2024) governance structure to encourage and empower constructive and effective communication between technical and community groups.

The GEB commits to:

  • improve the new governance model, collecting feedback, addressing issues, and working with the community to ensure its success;
  • develop a transparent GEB membership system to ensure resource power and availability, diversity of voice, productive collaboration, and sustainability for the future.


The GEB is a group of Galaxy advocates from around the world. It is currently (2024) comprised of the following members:

*But, well, obviously not. Thank you Ross.