A Case of Life-Saving Collaboration

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Using TeamPage as its collaboration platform, BGRI’s website has become a sizable repository of information. The site has more than 2,000 pages, including myriad research papers, presentations, and charts, along with a full, downloadable copy of Wheat Rusts: An Atlas of Resistance Genes. The site currently serves a core audience of between 300 and 400 researchers spread across multiple continents. Because TeamPage lets users control what content shows up in a search based on access permissions, BGRI has been able to use the platform as both an internal resource and as a portal for the general public.

According to Nelson, TeamPage’s configuration and terminology took some getting used to, but the researchers seem to have found the platform simple to use. She specifically cites an instance where they used the system to get feedback from researchers on an issue within a limited window of opportunity, and with great success. “[The process] went smoothly, which is saying something when you’re working with a bunch of scientists,” she says.

Nelson also notes that the organization’s program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has used BGRI’s portal to gather feedback from researchers on a forward-looking policy document, which she describes as a “notoriously difficult” task. “People commented and it spurred conversation,” says Nelson. “The fact that [we] didn’t get any complaints is the equivalent, in the scientific community, of people being wildly enthusiastic with it.”

John Bakum, BGRI’s website administrator, is also pleased with the platform. “It’s been very flexible. … It’s very robust,” he says, noting that Traction has been accommodating with any issues that have arisen. He also cites Traction’s user forums as a particularly useful resource of information.

Nelson echoes Bakum’s comment about the flexibility of the platform. “Traction really fulfilled all of our needs, and then some,” she says.

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