Indiana U researchers launch social networking and research management tool for scientists

Aug 27, 2008

Indiana University researchers have introduced Laboratree, a web-based solution to the complex problems of scientific collaboration.

Designed to streamline research and enhance collaborative social networking for the science community, Laboratree will enable scientists to securely manage research papers and data, organize groups and projects, send group messages, author blogs, and customize personal and group profiles – all online.

Indiana University School of Medicine informatics researchers have developed the Laboratree Research Management System to facilitate day-to-day research activities in a way that addresses the culture of scientific collaboration, eliminates barriers to entry, and uses the familiar structure of social networking to enable research.

"My thinking is that we should actually try to do things with a social network – that is, we should consider the social network the model by which we do things," said Sean Mooney, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical and molecular genetics, who developed Laboratree with colleagues at the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

At Laboratree, people become "colleagues" by invitation and are enabled to connect – and more importantly, to collaborate. Scientists create groups for their labs and manage individual projects, each with their own unique profile, and every colleague has an individual profile to access any part of his or her network.

The software grew out of a desire for tools to solve organization, collaboration, messaging, and document control issues in his own lab, Dr. Mooney said.

In addition to professional social networking, collaborators can upload documents to Laboratree, where colleagues can view, download, edit, and manage research papers and data. Colleagues will have access to all versions of a document, tracking edits made, while an intuitive check-in, check-out system eliminates conflicting changes.

Laboratree implements the recently developed OpenSocial platform, which offers a self-organizing approach to understanding the relationships between people and organizations. Using OpenSocial means software applications and tools by others can be plugged in to Laboratree, freely exchanged between social networks that have incorporated the new platform.

Mooney said the system is still in development and people interested in learning about and testing the system are encouraged to register at laboratree.org/.

Source: Indiana University

Explore further: Best of Last Week – Evidence of quark-gluon interactions, new portable device hack and why we may never live forever

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Airlines on alert as eruption begins in Iceland

11 hours ago

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano burst forth with a small eruption Saturday under the ice of Europe's largest glacier, scientists said, prompting the country to close airspace over the area.

Two Galileo satellites lose their way

13 hours ago

Two European Galileo satellites launched as part of a navigation system designed to rival GPS have failed to locate their intended orbit, launch firm Arianespace said Saturday.

Volcanic eruption begins under Iceland glacier

13 hours ago

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the country's largest glacier after a week of seismic activity rattled the area with thousands of earthquakes, the country's Meteorological Office ...

Recommended for you

Computer games give a boost to English

4 hours ago

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

9 hours ago

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

Oldest representative of a weird arthropod group

9 hours ago

Biologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have assigned a number of 435-million-year-old fossils to a new genus of predatory arthropods. These animals lived in shallow marine habitats ...

User comments : 0