Those readers who are avid, or even obsessive, followers of Nature’s various blogs will know that NPG is collaborating with a website called Antibodypedia since December of 2011. Well, last week we passed a significant milestone with the listing of its half-millionth antibody. And this week we are launching a Facebook page.
Antibodypedia attempts to pull together information about the performance of publicly available antibodies so that researchers can make informed decisions about which will work best in their experiments before they buy them. The data we aggregate are things like links to research papers in which the antibodies have been used, technical data from the antibody suppliers, and the results of experiments performed by independent scientists.
Antibodypedia is a great resource as it is, but the aggregation and presentation of information already available, albeit in diverse places, is only half of the story. We want it to also be a place where researchers can share their experiences with specific antibodies and discuss the problems that arise with immuno-based cell biology techniques.
We already have a mechanism in place for researchers to submit experiments showing the performance of antibodies, and an advisory board to help us peer-review those experiments to ensure their usefulness; it is a form of micro-publication. Now we are taking a further step in engaging with the research community with our Facebook page.
Well, it would have been perfectly possible to incorporate a message board, discussion forums and the other functionalities of a community site into Antibodypedia but the plain fact is the vast majority of researchers are already members of a global social networking site, so why ask them to join another one? Instead we are making things easy and carving out a small corner of Facebook for all things antibody(pedia). We will of course be posting a lot ourselves on the page—news, highlighting of research papers, running polls etc.— but we also hope that antibody-using researchers will start their own discussions, share their experiences and try to solve each other’s problems.
The page launches today so please come, take a look and ‘like’ us. Then come back regularly over the next few weeks to follow our posts, take part in the polls and, of course, leave a comment or two.