Just One Giant Lab (JoGL) is the first research and innovation laboratory operating as a distributed, open and massive mobilisation platform for volunteer-based, IP-free task solving. JoGL helps sync humanity onto solving our most urgent and important problems using Open Science, Responsible Innovation and Continuous Learning. JoGL partners with academic labs, companies, startups, foundations, NGOs and public services to create massive mobilisation on distributed and participatory research programs for understanding and solving Health, Environmental, Social and Humanitarian issues. As such, we are partnering with iGEM in order to better understand team work and collaborative behavior in the context of an open scientific challenge. We extracted and analyzed the teams' wikis since 2008, gathering an unprecedented wealth of information on the organizational principles guiding performance and success in collaborative science.
iGEM is a competition which encourages open science culture. As a part of this endeavour, one of the criteria to get a silver medal is ‘Collaboration’, meaning that an iGEM team should have helped another iGEM team in a significant way. These collaborations are not only established to satisfy the silver medal criterium, but also to push the teams’ projects forward. For example, a team may be lacking some instrument or some skill set in its team members. In such a case, it is of immense advantage for a team to ask for help from other teams. Cases like these make iGEM teams reach out to other iGEM teams and help them in various ways. The resulting connections between iGEM teams form the iGEM collaboration network.
In order to generate the collaboration networks for every year since 2008, we have explored how teams cite each other in their own wiki. Given the wiki of a source team, we look for all instances of names of other teams participating that year, and assume that they have an ongoing collaboration. This gives a systematic way to define collaborations, but doesn't account for the significance of a collaboration. The networks for all years since 2008 are shown below, with colors corresponding to continents (dark blue: Europe, orange: Asia, yellow: Latin America, light blue: North America, red: Africa). Interestingly, we see that the "iGEM world" has gained in density since the early days. We also observe a drastic change in the network structure beginning in 2015. This corresponds to the change of medal quality to award a collaboration, from Gold to Silver. This is informative on how the change in a single incentive can drastically change the overall collaborative behavior between scientific teams.
The iGEM wikis offer a wealth of information on the editing behavior, i.e which user edits what content at what time. Lines go from users (top circles) to the time of edition (middle line) and end up in the edited page (bottom circles). The size of the circles correspond to the number of edits.
The visualization below shows you the contribution of editors on the iGEM wiki. The top row represent the users, and the bottom row the pages. In the middle is (pseudo) time. Using this visualization you can observe who contributed to which page and at which moment. This is a useful viz for teams that are curious to see the breakdown of edition on their wiki. You can also see patterns such as different users participating at different time during the challenge. By clicking on a user or a page, you will highlight the contributions that were done by this user or to this page. We hope that you will find it informative, and hopefully useful to improve your team collaborative methodologies. Feel free to select your team and year below to visualize your team's editing behavior! (dataviz from Kim Albrecht)
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Below you can see the time behavior at the level of days of the weeks and hours of the days. Darker colors correspond to higher number of edits. So, are you a morning team or an evening team?