My group recently submitted a grant proposal to the NIH (a “competing renewal”) to continue our work developing the Gene Wiki. In case you haven’t been following, the goal of the Gene Wiki is to create a collaboratively-written, community-reviewed, and continuously-updated review article for every human gene. Currently the Gene Wiki exists in the form of ~10,000 Wikipedia articles on human genes.

Gene_Wiki_logoWhy blog about our grant proposal, the very ideas that most scientists hold so tightly to their chest? Especially before the proposal has been reviewed (much less funded)? There are several motivations.

  • First, we believe in the principles of Open Science. We have found that openly sharing our plans and ideas is a great way to align efforts with like-minded people. The upside has been much bigger than the downside, and it’s not even close.
  • Second, it’s in the spirit of Wikipedia itself. The Wikipedia community has been great, and we’re the first to acknowledge the importance of their collective contributions. A great crowdsourcing plan might be innovative, but without the “crowds”, it cannot be a success.
  • And third, I hope this information might be useful education for those who are just getting started with grant writing. I benefited from senior colleagues sharing grant proposals with me, and I hope to pay that forward.

With that introduction, a short series of blog posts will cover the grant proposal. The content will be broken out as follows:

Post #0: Introduction (this post)
Post #1: Gene Wiki progress report
Post #2: Aim 1: Diseases and drugs
Post #3: Aim 2: Outreach
Post #4: Aim 3: Centralized Model Organism Database
Post #5: Aim 4: Patient-aligned crowdsourcing

At the end of this series of blog posts, I’ll also post the full text of the grant proposal here. I toyed with the idea of making that contingent on a certain number of blog comments or Twitter retweets, but that seemed too gimmicky. Suffice it to say, we very much welcome your thoughts, be they positive, negative, or indifferent. Use the comment box below, or find me on Twitter.