Earlier this year, we announced our plans to grow BioGPS as a social application. Previously, your user account was pretty much limited to keeping track of your BioGPS stuff — layouts, plugins, and gene lists. Feast your eyes on BioGPS Profiles.

BioGPS now gives you the option of linking your user account to your real-world self. Add a link to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, or any other web presence. Write a free-text summary of who you are and what areas of research you’re interested in. Share as much or as little about yourself as you’d like.

BioGPS also allows you to create a social network of colleagues and collaborators. You can add colleagues one-by-one through their profile page (e.g., my profile page). Or you can import contacts in bulk.

For now, profiles are primarily a way for plugin owners to tell users a bit about themselves and vice versa. But creating your profile and network is just the first step. Next, we’ll be giving you the ability to share plugins, gene lists and layouts. We understand that lots of users want to freely share their data with the world. We also understand that sometimes you just want to share data with colleagues and collaborators. We understand that you want to discover potential synergies with other scientists with shared interests. Of course, you want to retain full control over exactly what you share with whom.

Scientific social networks are just in their infancy, and there are many new applications popping up aimed at harnessing these networks for collaborative science. Despite the enormous potential, there is currently no clear leader. We think BioGPS is uniquely poised for success because we already have a critical mass of users, and our community is based on a shared interest in gene function.

Let us know what you think!