There is need to integrate knowledge and human resources for finding solutions to challenges which elude conventional models. Connecting experts and their knowledge across various domains is a technological challenge that calls for a framework for interaction and collective data sharing. In a conventional model the partners are pre-decided and known. In open-source model the crowdsourcing of unknown varying expertise makes the collaboration seamless and dynamic. This implies that the collaborative infrastructure should also scale to keep pace. The OSDDs Semantic Web-based portal (http://sysborg2.osdd.net) enables collaborative networking using the Internet. It couples the Web2.0 tools for scientific collaboration to usher in Science2.0 for neglected disease research. Sysborg2 (Systems Biology of the Organism) is the core component of the OSDD portal. This component is comprised of several subcomponents, namely, open ideas, open project space, open laboratory notebook, resources and document repository, in addition to other social networking features. The main aim of the portal is to provide a virtual framework for discussions and data sharing along with other essential functionalities for managing and organizing the research projects.
The OSDD portal congregates the best-of-breed open-source applications to achieve functionality of a virtual collaboration platform designed to incorporate all the components of the drug discovery pipeline. This involves a chain from ideation to development of projects to posting the results on an open lab notebook to facilitating comments on these. A Semantic Web-based portal has been developed for seamless information search, access, extraction, interpretation, processing, and sharing between the community members. At the core of this portal is Resource Description Framework (RDF) data storage. Every data point on the portal is linked to another with a relationship and this subject-predicate-object triple forms the unit for RDF store. In the OSDD portal, users can create their own query and find relevant information on the data that exist on the portal. Liferay, a leading open-source portal, has been used as the backbone of the OSDD portal and is customized to interface with other open source applications to achieve the desired functions. Liferay has been interfaced with a project management system (PMS), lab information management system (LIMS), workflow system, and learning management system (LMS). It also provides portlets to display summary level information access interfaces for full-text semantic search mechanism and an interface to view credit points due to users contributions. The social networking features like friends, communities, activities, wall, blog, RSS, document library, etc are customized out-of-box Liferay components which are used in OSDD portal. In addition, tools for document sharing, versioning, project repositories, tools for process tracking, video and voice calling, etc are integrated into a single platform. The standards adopted by OSDD conform to the standards that are being developed worldwide.
The OSDD portal is developed with the objective to leverage the global brainpower of the crowd to address the growing need for affordable drugs.