The Internet, in its 25 years, has presented a mirroring world that is more open and social and, somewhat surprisingly, highly favorable toward domesticated, small-form felines; evolution, even virtual one, works in mysterious ways. On a more serious note, the Internet has profoundly altered the manner in which information – knowledge & data – is shared, and consumed.
30 years ago, in order to read these musings, you would had to get to a library, or purchase a magazine that received this text as a submission, reviewed and edited it. Now, you are probably on a train or in your lab, and all we had to do was click Publish.
So is this alteration in publishing and consuming good or bad? We think it’s good, really good. And it is probably time to let you know who we are.
It’s Time to Open Science
As scientists, we know the aches and heartburns of the life sciences field, especially when it comes to collaboration and sharing of knowledge and experimental data. The never-ending rat race (pun very much intended) of the scientist is unnecessarily redundantly competitive and to our view, hurts the quality of science and the pace of discoveries
We are big believers in the Open Science movement. We agree that scientific knowledge should be more accessible, and through the liberation of knowledge all those involved will prosper. Simply put, we envision science being a lot more collaborative.
Scientific and Social Don’t Need to be Conflicting Terms
LabWorm is the modern-day toolbox for the scientist. It allows you to easily search and organize the best and most relevant online resources you need for your research, in categorized toolboxes. And ‘relevant’ is the imperative word here.
There is a tool-inflation online, a chaotic abundance that can be confusing and extremely time-consuming to navigate through. We’ve been there, we’ve done that.
“The never-ending rat race (pun very much intended) of the scientist is unnecessarily redundantly competitive and to our view, hurts the quality of science and the pace of discoveries”
What we did with LabWorm was harness all those countless hours wasted searching online to produce an informed index of bioinformatics tools, resources and databases. We are all about the range, but more on that later.
With LabWorm you can browse categories of tools, sorted by rating or number of views. We leverage crowdsourcing to assist us in deciding which are the most relevant and helpful tools for each segment of scientific research. We wrapped it all with a social interface, to get the most of what the Internet has to offer.
Don’t be alarmed by the word ‘social’. We are not aiming to become the next Facebook. Rather, we hand-picked social elements that can promote collaboration between researchers and facilitate a more fluent discovery of tools. For example, you can follow others (and they can follow you) and checkout their toolboxes to see which resources they are using. Also, if one of the peers you are following has discovered a valuable tool, you will be notified about it.
Let’s Talk (Science) Shop
When we came to assemble the tools that are available on LabWorm we looked at the widest picture possible. On the site you can find from basic Bench Tools that “wet” biologists need for their daily routine, such as NebCutter, Reverse Complement, Translate to Protein and NCBI resources, to more analytical tools as Enrichr for gene sets analysis as well as a multitude of databases such as targetscan, a database of validated and predicted microRNA and target gene interactions. For bioinformaticians we have tools such as DESeq, R Packages or the Cufflinks RNA seq, to name a few.
This is just a taste. There are also advanced tools for genomics, transcritpomics, proteomics, metagenomics, and more.
We talk a lot about Web Tools, and for a reason, but we are well aware that staying on top of the latest trends in the academy and engaging in scholarly discussions is also paramount. So you can find PubPeer to review published papers and discuss them, GoPubMed for semantic search of medical journals, open access journals and preprint journals such as bioRxiv and Peer J.
Even for a Scientist it is Delightful to be Distracted
So we talked shop and got social, we looked at the big picture and even forged ahead in our imagination to scientific breakthroughs that rely on the collaborative rather than the secluded.
“Rather, we hand-picked social elements that can promote collaboration between researchers and facilitate a more fluent discovery of tools”
It gets us excited and hopeful to talk about the possibilities that LabWorm holds.
And what’s a scientist to do when the juices are flowing and the prospects are bright? To get distracted off course. We are all about sharing, we said that already, so we included in the site our favorite distraction tools, like PHDComics and LOLmyThesis. To our minds, distraction is one of the most important methods of discovery.
Needless to say, this is just the beginning. As in science itself, we have barely scratched the surface. If we may speak in a lofty manner for a sec, LabWorm is here to provide the platform for the sharing and dissemination of knowledge and data through the means of collaboration.
We believe that by dissecting and organizing the wealth of information and resources that are at our disposal we, scientists and researchers of all trades, can foster a more collaborative and effective scientific culture.
We count on the community, that’s you, and you, to join in and contribute by rating existing tools and sharing your own resource discoveries.