Updated on 13 November 2015
SBV IMPROVER project, a crowd-sourcing and collaborative competition for scientific research are new approaches to bring scientists' communities together for a common goal. How did this model evolve and what difference can it make in drug discovery?
The growth of crowd-sourcing and collaborative competition in scientific research has been driven by the desire to ensure credibility, impartiality and the reproducibility of conclusions. There are now many community-based scientific projects, of which SBV IMPROVER is just one 1,2. Others include CASP (Critical Assessment of Protein Structure Prediction), DREAM (Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods) and BioCreAtIvE (Critical Assessment of Information Extraction Systems in Biology)3-5. Common to all are two underlying principles:
Assessment of a prediction by an impartial, outside party is a more rigorous model for verification than self-assessment
Responses of the community to a prediction challenge can build consensus in the community regarding the most constructive methods for the task
In terms of drug discovery, the applications of crowd-souring and collaborative competition are many. In the case of SBV IMPROVER, our first challenge - the Diagnostic Signature Challenge - invited participants to identify new biomarkers across four distinct disease areas, many of which have the potential to be targets for new therapeutic interventions.