Your local convenience store probably has a dish filled with pennies near the checkout. If your order costs $1.01 and you don't have a penny, you take one. The next time you're in, if you get change, you're expected to leave a penny. Unfortunately, when it comes to annotating sequence databases, it seems most researchers are the type to take a penny, but not give one back.

With the click of a mouse, scientists gain free access to enormously expensive and annotated sequence databases, the product of teams of researchers and informaticians. Yet when users notice errors in annotation - gene models that don't match their own data, for instance - they generally keep the knowledge to themselves. "There's a certain amount of apathy," says WormBase developer Lincoln Stein. "People realize a gene model is incorrect but they don't report it."

They don't alert database curators to new gene models...

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