James Peter Taylor | 1979 - 2020

Good ideas don’t have owners—they belong to everyone (@jxtx)

James Taylor, a leader of the Galaxy Project, and one of its original members, passed away on April 2, 2020. The community response has been tremendous, reflecting the breadth and depth of his impact. Learn more about James and his impact:

JXTX: The James P. Taylor Foundation for Open Science

You can help continue James's legacy of open and reproducible science by contributing to JXTX: The James P. Taylor Foundation for Open Science.

Happy Birthday James.

James Taylor

A note to James, a year after his passing.


What a year. It was difficult. It was the year in which Spotify AI was confused on how to make a playlist of a single song. And that song was Adagio in G minor. We questioned what is the way of going forward. But not for long. We realized that the only thing we can do is to continue. And so we did.

First, the people. The team is the same. It is solid. It is through its dedication and energy we are where we are. People took this hard and some may never fully recover. Yet they knew how to handle this. And the outcome is evident. Still don't understand how so many great people agreed to work with us.

Then, there is of course Galaxy. Despite all the pandemic ‘fun’, the GCC had the highest attendee count ever! The COVID project you were so fond of has unified the Galaxy community. There are very few remaining differences between usegalaxies. It is a truly community driven effort, just as you have always pictured it. That grant we were obsessing about last January is funded and we are again on solid footing for the foreseeable future. Your tweaking with LaTeX was definitely worth it.

There is also AnVIL. Shaped by your vision from the start, it continued along the right trajectory thanks to Mike's energy and technical excellence of your good old crew. It will work as you intended.

We used your sudden absence as an excuse to raise money. Our goal was to fund a program that would make it possible for graduate students to attend key genomics meetings. The response was amazing! We tested this approach at CSHL Biological Data Science past year and funded 10 graduate students. We will be doing this regularly once life returns to post-COVID normal and meetings are again of the "in-person" kind.

One last thing. Some of us know your birthday date despite your best effort to hide it. So from now on, we will be celebrating each May 18 as the JXTX/Galaxy day. This year the Galaxy community members will come together to produce short videos in which they describe their interactions with you or the impact you’ve had on them - we’ll then assemble the videos into a modern poster. I just wanted to warn you ahead of time as you may find videos about yourself a bit weird.

So, as you can see, we are trying … we’ll be keeping you in the loop. Just not on April 2. We think May 18 is better!

Have a memory of James to share?

Please share your favorite story about James in ~ 30 seconds. We will combine your clips into a community video that will be prominently featured on all Galaxy-related sites.

Here is what we will need you to do by May 7:

  1. Think of your favorite story/interaction/event involving James.
  2. Pick a nice location and record the video!
  3. The video should be:

    • in a high-resolution
    • without background noise
    • in a horizontal orientation (not vertical!)
    • ≲ 30 seconds in length
  4. Deposit video file to your Google Drive or Dropbox folder (or any other location that would allow us to retrieve it)
  5. Send a link to the video, your name and location as you would like them to appear in the final video to: outreach@galaxyproject.org

Thank you all in advance and please feel free to send this email to other friends of James.