Scientific Collaboration
      with Plone:
     A Case Study
           Sally Kleinfeldt
     Plone Symposium East 2009
Background

• Collaboration site for Advancing Green
  Chemistry
• Fall 2008 Jazkarta project
• Me? I’m an ecologist...
Overview

• Organization
• Opportunity
• Solution
• Lessons
Organization
• AdvancingGreenChemistry.org
• Mission: promote development and
  adoption of Green Chemistry
• Shift away f...
Opportunity
• Build collaborative connections between
 • Green Chemistry
 • Environmental Health Sciences
• Sciences that ...
Problem

• How to create collaboration where there is
  none? How to orchestrate joint:
 • Conferences
 • Papers
 • Policy...
Solution

• A private website that provides a safe,
  trusted environment for members to
  discuss ideas that might be con...
Solution

• Website features:
 • Invited members
 • Relevant news, papers, bibliographies
 • Wiki-like collaboration areas...
Plone Features Well
 Suited to Problem
• Secure document sharing
• Rich pages, news, events, calendars
• Wiki behavior
• C...
Add-on Products
   Provide The Rest
• Discussions (PloneBoard)
• Integrated news feeds (FeedFeeder)
• Bibliographiies (CMF...
The Site


• Home page with portlets for news,
  members, discussion posts, announcements
Members

• Browse and search members
• Portlet for most active members (based on
  count of content)
• Portlet for most re...
Member Profiles


• Extra fields (projects, affiliations...)
• Member area preconfigured to contain
  bibliography and papers ...
The Science

• Primers on Green Chemistry and
  Environmental Health Sciences
• Summaries of papers (custom type)
• “Wiki”...
News
• Featured news items added to site
• Two RSS feeds imported with FeedFeeder
  so searchable on site
• To improve mer...
Discussions


• Implemented with PloneBoard
• Not much activity
Ad Hoc Collaborations

• New area created during conference
• Notes, ideas, policy documents
• Responding to opportunity p...
Results
• November conference - 30 invited experts
• One week after election - change of
  administration offered a huge o...
Lessons Learned
What do Scientists
        Need?
• Secure, private areas for data, discussions -
  with control over access
• Places to sh...
What do Scientists
        Need?

• Collaboration spaces for joint authoring
 • Too much passing documents via email -
   ...
What’s Easy in Plone

• Features largely meet the needs
• Custom content types for specific uses
• Everyone gets WYSIWYG ed...
What’s Hard in Plone
• Getting users started
• Shifting from uploading docs to editing
  pages
• Training required for som...
What’s Hard in Plone

• Getting a new discussion forum off the
  ground...
• Commenting on content is easier to
  instigat...
Tips for Success
• Keep it simple and focussed
• Develop iteratively - they won’t know what
  they want until they’ve seen...
Tips for Success

• Train a site admin who will personally
  mentor the scientists (especially on
  bibliographies)
• Bewa...
Tips for Success

• Beware of ambitions for discussion forums,
  social networking features
 • Unlikely to be successful a...
Questions, Discussion?
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study
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Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study

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Sally Kleinfeldt describes a private collaboration site created for the nonprofit Advancing Green Chemistry, and lessons learned from the project.

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Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study

  1. 1. Scientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Study Sally Kleinfeldt Plone Symposium East 2009
  2. 2. Background • Collaboration site for Advancing Green Chemistry • Fall 2008 Jazkarta project • Me? I’m an ecologist...
  3. 3. Overview • Organization • Opportunity • Solution • Lessons
  4. 4. Organization • AdvancingGreenChemistry.org • Mission: promote development and adoption of Green Chemistry • Shift away from an economy dependent on toxic chemicals • “...design molecules with an eye to consequences right from the start...”
  5. 5. Opportunity • Build collaborative connections between • Green Chemistry • Environmental Health Sciences • Sciences that operate within strict disciplinary boundaries • Common thread: how chemicals interact with biological systems
  6. 6. Problem • How to create collaboration where there is none? How to orchestrate joint: • Conferences • Papers • Policy development
  7. 7. Solution • A private website that provides a safe, trusted environment for members to discuss ideas that might be controversial in mainstream venues
  8. 8. Solution • Website features: • Invited members • Relevant news, papers, bibliographies • Wiki-like collaboration areas • Discussion forums
  9. 9. Plone Features Well Suited to Problem • Secure document sharing • Rich pages, news, events, calendars • Wiki behavior • Commenting • Related content • Member areas
  10. 10. Add-on Products Provide The Rest • Discussions (PloneBoard) • Integrated news feeds (FeedFeeder) • Bibliographiies (CMFBibliographyAT) • Papers, summaries (Easy to create custom content types)
  11. 11. The Site • Home page with portlets for news, members, discussion posts, announcements
  12. 12. Members • Browse and search members • Portlet for most active members (based on count of content) • Portlet for most recent members
  13. 13. Member Profiles • Extra fields (projects, affiliations...) • Member area preconfigured to contain bibliography and papers (custom type)
  14. 14. The Science • Primers on Green Chemistry and Environmental Health Sciences • Summaries of papers (custom type) • “Wiki” behavior on some sections • Admin controls on sharing tab
  15. 15. News • Featured news items added to site • Two RSS feeds imported with FeedFeeder so searchable on site • To improve merged display without needing a custom view, Ross Patterson created collective.subcollectionview - provides new layout for sub-collections
  16. 16. Discussions • Implemented with PloneBoard • Not much activity
  17. 17. Ad Hoc Collaborations • New area created during conference • Notes, ideas, policy documents • Responding to opportunity presented by new administration
  18. 18. Results • November conference - 30 invited experts • One week after election - change of administration offered a huge opportunity • Used site to quickly prepare succinct policy statement, presented to key people • Now working on scientific consensus statement, group has ownership of site
  19. 19. Lessons Learned
  20. 20. What do Scientists Need? • Secure, private areas for data, discussions - with control over access • Places to share • Grey literature • Bibliographies • Information about papers published elsewhere (respecting copyright)
  21. 21. What do Scientists Need? • Collaboration spaces for joint authoring • Too much passing documents via email - who has the latest? • Support for all levels of web savvy
  22. 22. What’s Easy in Plone • Features largely meet the needs • Custom content types for specific uses • Everyone gets WYSIWYG editing
  23. 23. What’s Hard in Plone • Getting users started • Shifting from uploading docs to editing pages • Training required for some things • Folder structure, information architecture • Collections, portlets, how to set up sharing
  24. 24. What’s Hard in Plone • Getting a new discussion forum off the ground... • Commenting on content is easier to instigate and should work better
  25. 25. Tips for Success • Keep it simple and focussed • Develop iteratively - they won’t know what they want until they’ve seen it • Set up site structure ahead of time (generic setup) • Set up structure of Member areas too (event handler)
  26. 26. Tips for Success • Train a site admin who will personally mentor the scientists (especially on bibliographies) • Beware adding features that will complicate migrations - bad for customers and gives Plone a bad name
  27. 27. Tips for Success • Beware of ambitions for discussion forums, social networking features • Unlikely to be successful at small scales • Focus on what Plone is good at - content management
  28. 28. Questions, Discussion?
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