tools for thought

To support the development, execution and exploitation of POPP proposals, we envision a social web tool that will enable new forms of interdisciplinary research collaboration.

  • First, we want to support the generation of new ideas – cool new ways of collecting and using information in research, new ways of modelling and simulating processes, new ways of collaborating.
  • Second, we want to support the formulation of prototyping projects that would provide proof-of-principle for these ideas.
  • Practically, we need to help each other to identify data, methods, tools, people and funding to get the job done.
  • Finally we need tools to make the project and its results visible: to allow others to share in and contribute to the lessons learned.

We plan build these tools incrementally, since we will only begin to find out what we want as we start to use them in earnest. Here are some initial ideas of features we might need:

  • Perhaps, we want users to be able to fill in templates for projects, incrementally over time, and we want to be able to view, aggregate and summarise information about projects in different ways.
  • Perhaps, we want a register of expertise, a register of problems, and also a funding register. We certainly want tools that will help bring the right expertise and resources together to solve problems.
  • We want to be open, but we need enough security to protect us from spam, and probably some projects will want to keep some things private.

To begin, we have to choose a platform (Plone, Drupal, Wordpress, ...) for our initial development. We hope we can make a choice that will allow rapid prototyping, will be efficient in use, and that will be flexible enough to accommodate our future needs.

We invite your comments and suggestions. What features should we support? What platforms might we consider, and why?

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