“Facebook” for scientists to be developed

The NIH has funded a new initiative to create a “Facebook for scientists.” The $12.2 million/2 year grant was awarded to a consortium of seven universities, led by the University of Florida, to develop a web resource that will pull together information about faculty and staff, published articles, and information provided by researchers. The initiative will use VIVO, a “networking template” from Cornell.

The schools involved are Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Florida, Weill Cornell Medical College, Washington University in St. Louis, the Scripps Research, Institute and the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. Their roles are detailed in Cornell’s press release on the news:

Cornell will spearhead the development of the multi-institutional functionality of the VIVO technology; the University of Florida will focus on developing technology for keeping each site’s data current; and Indiana University Bloomington will develop social networking tools to enable researchers to find others with similar interests. Four other institutions — Scripps Research Institute, Juniper, Fla.; Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, P.R.; Washington University of St. Louis; and the Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City — will serve as implementation sites.

The “VIVOweb” initiative, as this will be known, has enormous potential. The communities of researchers are generally eager to participate in social networks such as VIVOweb is scoped to become, as has been demonstrated by the active community surrounding NITRC and other projects in which TCG has a role.

[Disclosure: TCG participated on a competing application for this grant.]