Science 2.0 Catching Up?

I have apologized so many times about my absence from this blog, that I figured I’d stop doing it and just post whenever I can and… so be it! 🙂

A friend of mine shared a NY Times article tonight with a group of us that brought me out of my blogging withdrawal, a piece titled “Cracking Open the Scientific Process” that questions the process of peer-reviews in medicine and scientific journals.

This article is more than just on to something: it’s in line with the future… mash-ups, crowdsourcing, social sharing, web 2.0… call it what you want… As a matter of fact, in many areas this is not the future but rather the way the present is lived and breathed. But the world of scientific research has been slow to adopt Web 2.0 trends.

The truth is information wants to be free and be shared and it will be! A few years ago who would have given ANY credibility to what a bunch of patients living with a chronic disease had to say about the disease they live with 24/7. Today, the Diabetes Online Community is a force that influences legislation, research, product development, you name it…

Researchers that are closed and not willing to share in their approach may be able to “run” but they can’t hide. Funders are realizing more and more that this kind of “my precious!” type of research has produced very slow progress in many fronts. They are seeing promising trends like the partnership between Innocentive and JDRF around a $100,000 challenge for innovative ways to approach the discovery and development of a glucose-responsive insulin drug as a means to treat insulin-dependent diabetes…

Another great example of this trend can be seen in Boston-based nonprofit T1D Exchange. They developed Glu, a new portal for people with type 1 diabetes, as a means to communicate with the community and to advance diabetes research through surveys and studies. You can read more about this initiative in this recent interview with Jen Block, their Clinical Content Manager.

Could a cure for type 1 emerge from the information voluntarily-shared by people living with type 1 diabetes? Perhaps. Could we as a community (of patients and researchers) learn more from it? You bet! I know we have done so through TuDiabetes and TuAnalyze, with a universe of participants of just over 3,000 people touched by diabetes. Imagine the potential!

So, the flood-gates of information sharing in the scientific world are opening. Who is ready for what is coming?

Disclaimer: Diabetes Hands Foundation (where I serve as President) has collaborated with T1D Exchange in the development of Glu.