Both Brian Foley and Dave Kristofferson recently raised questions
regarding BioTechNET, by asking, "Could someone give us a critique
of BioTechNET, the relatively new "Global computer network created
specially for research biologists" as advertised in the BioTechniques
Since I am one of the editors for BioTechinques, I thought I'd try
to answer this and the related questions.
What is BioTechNET?
BioTechNET is not just another e-mail system but rather a
new network similar to Compuserve or Protogy, with emphasis on
Is there a gateway to the InterNet?
Although one component of BioTechNET is the availability
of e-mail, at present there is no gateway to the InterNet.
According to folks at BioTechNET the cost for such a gateway is
$12,000 initial fee + $1000/month. At present, the high cost of
providing such a gateway, in their minds, is prohibitive. I, of
course, argued that an InterNet gateway would increase their
visibility and use but we'll have to wait and see.
What services does BioTechNet offer?
In addition to e-mail, BioTechNET also offers FAX, Telex,
Translation Services (Spanish,French, German, Italian, and Portugese,
to and from English), under the heading of Communications;
Data/text file storage/editing; Conference and Forums; Bulletin Boards;
a MarketPlace section for contacting advertisers in BioTechnique magazine,
placeing orders for equipment, supplies, etc; requesting customer service;
and a range of news and information services including BioTechniques
articles on-line, BioTech Industry Newsletters, a Research Library which
provides access to DIALOG, and a Professional Societies listing/forum
section. For those who like Compuserve, etc, these may be useful
What are the associated costs?
The initial fee for an ID and password is $12 and the connect
fee is 49 cents/minute ($29/hour). It is my understanding that these
are the only charges and there is no cost per message charge on
I should point out that I have no connection with those associated
with BioTechNET other than being on the Editorial Board of BioTechniques
and the opinions expressed are those I have gained from reading literature
Hope this is helpful to those curious about this service.
Bruce A. Roe
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Oklahoma