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OpenWetWare and Google Sites have been effective strategies in curating lab knowledge. I was curious about what are effective ways to create an effective wiki. Factors include:

  • Ease of use and low learning curve
  • Speed of sharing and diversity of shared files
  • Privacy and protection from sabotage
  • Organizational flow
  • Legally sharing papers/manuscripts

1 Answer 1

A wiki is a platform, which you can use in whatever way you see fit. Personally, I've used them academically for the following purposes:

Lab notebook

I was running cognitive psychology experiments on subjects. I would make a top-level page that contained links to a separate page for all of my research projects. On each research project page, I had links to separate pages for each of the following:

  • Study protocols (behavioral testing, brain scanning, data cleaning, data analysis) - separate pages for each
  • Change log to the paradigm itself
  • Troubleshooting notes... as I encountered problems, write them down here
  • Subjects (one page per subject

Each subject page contained notes on each session, results, general info ("subject performed poorly today, possibly due to stress from midterms"), as well as the results of their data analysis.

Publication repository

This wiki was basically a place for me to store papers. Many wikis allow embedding of pdfs, and I would store pages as follows. The top-level page segmented topics. Each topic page contained links to pages about individual papers, as well as links to ongoing summaries of my reading. This was where I would write down my thoughts and conclusions after reading papers, and made it easier for me to combine my thoughts on multiple papers... after reading a new article, I would review what I had written there and try to somehow incorporate the new article in my ideas (if relevant, more often than not it wasn't).


These are just two ideas, and they were just used by me, not my whole lab. I'm sure you can think of more (managing lab meetings, managing collaborations, managing lab-wide protocols, etc).