Using OpenScholar for Collaborative Research
by Alex Lindahl
Open source is not only a growing movement in the software industry. Open source philosophies are being adopted in many other verticals such as education, government, and scientific research. One recent example is in collaborative drug research. Now, thanks to a “rare sharing of data”, there are over 100 new studies underway that are accelerating the progress of developing drugs to slow or stop Alzheimer’s disease. A recent New York Times article,Rare Sharing of Data Led to Results on Alzheimer'se, chronicles the story and and success of the initiative that started seven years ago. At the time there were few supporters. But now, the collaborative research and data sharing initiative is producing inspiring progress that has spurred other institutions to follow suit.
“The collaboration is already serving as a model for similar efforts against Parkinson’s disease. A $40 million project to look for biomarkers for Parkinson’s, sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, plans to enroll 600 study subjects in the United States and Europe.”
This type of collaboration is the future of business, education, research, and countless other industries. The story reminded me of OpenScholar, a Drupal solution for higher education built by Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science. The out-of-the-box ready to use solution started with many of the same goals in mind - to publish and share data on campus. By building a platform to easily deploy faculty micro-sites, project collaboration spaces, and departmental websites, researchers will be able to share information easier, follow professors and research published at other universities through social networking functionality, and ultimately reduce the “silo” effect that thwarts progress on a broader scale. It’s a tool for empowering people to collaborate and share on the web.
This isn’t the only intriguing play of OpenScholar. Research at universities heavily depend on grants. By empowering professors with these types of tools, they can keep their donors up-to-date with progress, increase the likelihood of others finding the information, collaborating, and maybe even attract more money. That’s the goal at least and its all in the works. We’re just very excited that this is all happening on Drupal.
Imagine if OpenScholar can fuel the next generation of research sharing in higher education.
If you’re interested, I would like to invite you to our first demo webinar of OpenScholar in partnership with Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.
Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested in learning more about OpenScholar as a Service from Acquia.