Making Scientific Research More Real Time And Collaborative Using APIs
03 Aug 2016
I had heard about the Zika virus research that was going on at the University of Wisconsin listening to an NPR episode this last spring. I finally had the time to dig into the topic a little more, and learn more about where the research is at, and some of the software behind the sharing and collaboration around the research.
The urgency in getting the raw data and results of the research out to the wider scientific community caught my attention and the potential for applying API related approaches seems pretty huge. When it comes to mission-critical research that could impact thousands or millions of people, it seems like there should be a whole suite of open tooling that people can employ to ensure sharing and collaboration are real time and frictionless.
As I dug into the Zika virus research, I was happy to find the LabKey technology employed to publish the research. I do not know much about them yet, but I was happy to see the open source community solution, developer resources including a web API for integrating with research that is published using the platform. There are plenty of improvements I'd like to see added to the API and developer efforts, but it is a damn good start when it comes to making important scientific research much more shareable and collaborative.
I'll spend more time learning more about what LabKey currently offers, and then I'll work to establish some sort of next steps blueprint that would employ other modern API approaches to help ensure important research can be made more real-time, aggregated, interoperable, and shareable using technology like definitions, Webhooks, iPaaS, and other common areas of a modern API effort.
When it comes to research, scientists should have a wealth of open tooling and resources that make their work a collaborative and shareable process by default, but with as much control as they desire--something modern web API solutions excel at. I added LabKey to a new research area dedicated to science. I will spend more time going through space, and see what guides, blueprints, and other resources I can pull together to assist researchers in their API journey.