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Brief Bioinform. 2007 May;8(3):163-71. Epub 2007 May 17.

Alzforum and SWAN: the present and future of scientific web communities.

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  • 1Alzheimer Research Forum, Boston, MA, USA.


Scientists drove the early development of the World Wide Web, primarily as a means for rapid communication, document sharing and data access. They have been far slower to adopt the web as a medium for building research communities. Yet, web-based communities hold great potential for accelerating the pace of scientific research. In this article, we will describe the 10-year experience of the Alzheimer Research Forum ('Alzforum'), a unique example of a thriving scientific web community, and explain the features that contributed to its success. We will then outline the SWAN (Semantic Web Applications in Neuromedicine) project, in which Alzforum curators are collaborating with informatics researchers to develop novel approaches that will enable communities to share richly contextualized information about scientific data, claims and hypotheses.

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