Building a critical mass: social networking for scientists in Nature

Just a paragraph from Virginia Gewin: The new networking nexus Nature 451, 1024-1025 (20 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/nj7181-1024a


Some sites do more than just bring people together; they let researchers share data, methodologies and protocols., funded by the UK government, lets users share workflows: the customary protocols for standardizing data, running simulations or conducting statistical analysis on large data sets. Standardized protocols for manipulating large data sets can be tweaked for specific purposes. Users can comment on their usefulness and link to other work-flows of interest. Bioinformaticians and geneticists are among those who stand to benefit most. For example, sharing a workflow for identifying biological pathways implicated in Trypanosomiasis resistance in cattle allowed another investigator to find pathways involved in sex dependence in the mouse model, says myExperiment project leader David De Roure, a computer scientist at the University of Southampton, UK. Done independently, this type of study could take two years. Such streamlining allows scientists to focus on discovery rather than drudgery, he says.