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Labworm: Unlocking the Potential of Digital Research Tools

25th July 2016
By Guest Author

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Science has a problem. While today’s science has unprecedented potential due to extraordinary cutting-edge technologies, more innovative minds and more dollars than ever before, science is stuck. That unparalleled potential goes largely untapped due to low productivity which plagues labs everywhere.

Science is slow…

Because we aren’t organized: Science is at a turning point, where digital tools to support and improve benchwork are being created and made public at an astonishing rate. That’s great, except that the sheer mass of options limits accessibility. The inability to discover and extract the most relevant, accurate tool for your needs, the lack of support on how to best use each tool, and the lack of time to compare all the options, make all that potential inaccessible.

But maybe there’s a better way. If the scientific community came together in one place to rank tools based on personal experience – essentially Crowdsourcing validation – and used that experience to support new users, as well as creating a marketplace for expert help, we would suddenly have real access to a phenomenal arsenal of research tools.

Because we don’t collaborate: Science is less collaborative than ever as competition for grant money and fear of being scooped in publishing articles in prestigious journals discourages open sharing and cooperation. That self-imposed isolation inevitably leads to wasting precious resources in redundant efforts. In other words, those very resources every scientist is scrambling to secure, they are squandering in an effort to do everything independently.

But maybe there’s a better way. If we can protect our data, while sharing our research tools, we can all produce higher quality research, faster.

Right now the digital chaos and self-imposed isolation mean scientific discovery is slow…

…but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Today’s world of on-line communities and Crowdsourcing has the potential to disrupt the physical world of benchwork. If we had a way to leverage each other’s experience to access the digital tools out there, we could revolutionize the quality and rate of scientific discovery.

That’s what we believe, and that’s why we created LabWorm – a platform for community-wide collaboration to make digital tools accessible to scientists. LabWorm’s aim is to increase efficiency and productivity in science by increasing the discoverability and support available in using digital tools.

A huge part of that vision is the validation of tools by Crowdvoting, by social features like “following” each other to see what other scientists are using, and by providing curated collections of tools that have been validated by experts in various fields.

LabWorm is a paradigm shift that leverages the scientific community to make top tools accessible and in turn, put discovery into hyperdrive.

The LabWorm solution starts with scientists on all levels, around the world, identifying and posting tools they know and love. Scientists already have tools they know work well and use regularly – let us know what they are!

At the same time, scientists can check out the tools being posted by others, try them out, and vote on those they like best. The better a tool is, the more votes it will get, meaning you don’t have to spend hours searching on Google, downloading and comparing tools, but rather can see at a glance what the wider community vouches for.

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Users can check out which tools other random users are using each time they log in, or you can choose specific scientists to follow, so that when they start using a new tool, you’ll know about it. When leading scientists with similar research interests are using a common set of tools, LabWorm will create a curated toolbox.

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Not sure where to start? Well that’s what the curated toolboxes are all about. When a set of tools organically emerges as the leading tools in a field LabWorm will put together a toolbox – like a tools starter set – to get you going. Add relevant toolboxes to your own collection, knowing you are now using the best tools out there, vetted by experts.

That’s the LabWorm solution in a nutshell. The longer-term vision is to take over the world – well, at least the scientific world by using these same principles of Crowdsourcing, Crowdvoting, following and curating to unlock the potential of everything out there, not just tools. The same methodology would allow us to hone in on the best articles, the most valuable conferences, and the top of the top across the board.

Join us in revolutionizing science at LabWorm.

Post authored by the LabWorm team

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