One of our goals this year for microBEnet is to start to build a protocol library for members of the community. This library would hopefully include methods for carrying out all sorts of different kinds of work – from how to sample dust in a building (e.g., do you use a shop vac or a small filter?; if you use a shop vac, which one and how?) to how to do bioinformatics analyses of microbiome data.
So I have been asking around and sniffing around and searching around for ways to build such a library. And this question is likely of interest to anyone out there who would like to publish, share, or access various protocols.
In my brief looking around I have found four systems that have features that are similar to what I am imagining.
Ideally any system would have the following features
- Open (e.g., open source software running it)
- Free (i.e., no charge for the user)
- Have rewards for posting (e.g., getting a DOI / citable publication)
- Good links to published literature
- Links to ways to order reagents and supplies
- Easy access / printing for using during work
Some people in my lab have been arguing that most of the features I am looking for could come from GitHub. I think this is an interesting idea but I just do not see most of the non-computational people in a field using GitHub to share lab protocols.
So – I am writing here to seek input from the community.
- What systems out there exist for sharing of experiment protocols that I have missed?
- Has anyone used any of the systems I list or others?
- What other features would be good to consider for such systems?
- What is in the development pipeline? (e.g., ZappyLabs has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to create Protocols.Io)
- Any other things to think about?