We had a very good discussion at the Zing Conference on Protein and RNA Prediction (many thanks to Andrzej Kloczkowski for organizing the discussion panel and to John Moult for chairing it.)

A number of people were very supportive of the idea while others expressed some doubts.

The good news is that there are 10 groups that are willing to participate in this effort. Andriy Kryshtafovych, one of the CASP organizers, suggested to start with CASP ROLL as this allows for plenty of time to work on each target.

The two main concerns referred to:

  • Collaborations already happen in CASP and therefore, there is no need to organize this collaborative effort. As a member of the audience pointed out, the collaborative effort will allow groups and individuals that currently do not participate in CASP to join the CASP groups in the discussion and prediction of some targets. Furthermore, the goal of this collaborative is not to replace the current way people collaborate in CASP but to offer a new way to connect people and leverage people’s skills. Moreover, if the collaboration between 2 groups has proven successful, then just on probabilistic grounds there is a greater chance that the collaboration among several groups will be equally or more fructiferous.
  • Sharing and stealing ideas. To address this concern we will set up a wiki system (see below) that will keep track of everybody’s contribution within a password‐protected environment. In addition, those that do not feel comfortable sharing their methods/ideas can still share some results without revealing the method used to achieve them. We’re interested in the aggregation of methods and/or ideas to solve a difficult problem.

What’s next? This week we’ll set up the web infrastructure for this collaboration. We will use this blog for the open discussion and will set up a wiki (that uses the OpenID protocol) for the issues that are specific to the CASP participation and predictions. Anybody will be able to register to the wiki and only those registered will be able to read the wiki contents and add their comments and/or data. I will let you know when it is ready.