Introduction to Collaborative Communities

The Synaptic Leap communities are generally disease specific.  Our goal is to connect scientists with various research skills working on a particular disease so that they may collaborate together and offer fresh perspectives on the issues at hand. 

During our pilot phase, we are focusing on tropical diseases.  For example, we have a community for malaria and a community for schisto.  You can navigate to these communities by using the navigation folders on the left.  

research community navigational links 

There is also a general community for open source biomedical research  It's the only non-disease oriented community and is intended to be a community for general open and collaborative biomedical research tools, discussions and site postings. 

Each community acts as a mini portal assembling recent research articles, and web-based research tools to study the research community's disease of focus. Users participating in multiple research communities will quickly become familiar with this common infrastructure. The various community tools will each be discussed separately. When you click on a research community navigational link e.g. malaria research, you will be presented with a welcome page in the main content area and the primary community links will expand in the navigational box on the left. 

research community tools navigational links 

Each research community is led by web-savvy scientists studying that disease.  These scientists help to assemble the tools and resources you will need to research and participate in collaborative research projects for that disease.  Thanks to the web, these resources are growing rapidly.  If you know of an important resource that they are missing, pipe up by commenting on the pertinent page or by posting a blog and publishing it to the appropriate collaborative community. 

If you wish to lead another community conducting open, collaborative research projects focusing on another disease, contact Ginger.  

Current Projects

When people and ideas within The Synaptic Leap connect and mature, they blossom into open, collaborative research projects. Project information can be maintained within the Current Projects section of a research community. Projects, like this user's guide, are created using Drupal's book module. Books allow content to be created and maintained on separate pages and then organized hierarchically. Community participants can easily create child pages to a given page. User's can navigate the hierarchy using the next and previous links at the bottom of the page.

  • Projects are listed at the bottom of the main project page.
  • Any user who is logged in may create and describe a new research project by simply adding a "child page".
  • Printer-friendly versions are available for all projects from the main project page, or for a specific project from within the project-specific page.


overview of main current projects page for malaria community


When creating a project page, remember you are publishing the information on the web. You need to make it easy for people to browse and get a good overview of your project with an ability to drill for more details.

Suggested section headings within a project page:

  • "Aim" or "Overview" - 1-2 paragraphs describing the objective of the project
  • "Who's Involved" - gotta give credit where credit is due. We also suggest that you link each name to a bio page or their TSL user profile page.
  • "Status" -
  • More project details perhaps on the page or perhaps attached as ppts/word docs/ excel spreadsheet for issues and to-do tracking... Or you may choose to create multiple child pages of the project page. Use these tools to help you coordinate tasks amongst your project members. The more details you include, the more others in the TSL community may "comment" on to help direct your research efforts. You never know what might have already been tried or who may have a fresh perspective that may offer a critical new insight.

Additionally, we suggest that you create a child page to tell others how they can get involved - donating data, materials, or specific research skills needed. By creating this as a separate page, you can also publish it to the Resources Needed page by simply selecting the Resources Needed subject.

creating a "resources needed" page