Open, collaborative networking accelerates scientific discovery. We are piloting this concept in fields of biomedicine, where discovery of new molecular targets, diagnostics, and therapies and their combinations can benefit today’s patients. Rapid Science provides unique tools, templates, a publishing venue – including a clearinghouse of patient data that includes omics and outcomes – and incentives to collaborate.

The prototypes shown here were developed at Cancer Commons with generous funding from the Adelson Medical Research Foundation – a collaboration of melanoma researchers and clinicians focused on precision drug discovery.

Click screenshots to view full size

Collaboration Platform

Member Profile

The registered Member’s page features:

  • The Member’s primary and subgroups, which can serve to filter the content feed
  • Feed showing latest deposited research, comments, proposed revisions to Evidence Review, rated news, etc. – can be sorted by date, most commented upon, highest rated
  • Click on tags to see related postings
  • Member’s submitted uploads and their status
  • Member’s saved searches, news, content, and notifications


Next on the top navigation bar is the Community tab; design shows a lab subgroup within the Melanoma community:

  • Subgroup Member listing; each clickable to individual’s profile page
  • Ability to form groups/subgroups
  • Group leader can validate new members and authorize capabilities such as commenting, rating, editing, and downloading/uploading
  • Ability to share content between groups
  • Collaboration Score tracks contributions to group projects, including levels of sharing, commenting, peer reviewing and publishing


  • Sort research items by strength of evidence, date, or most commented upon
  • Filter content feed by research type (experimental results, case reports, etc.)
  • Rate research items according to strength of evidence
  • Recommend research for publication – as hypotheses that validate, refute or amplify the Evidence Review
  • Specially designated peer reviewers can promote items to publication

Research Item

This Research item is slide 1 in a deck of 12 slides:

  • Comments can be directed to a specific point on a given slide (or table, text, etc.)
  • Number of comments shown at top right; ability to open all comments related to this research
  • The listing on the right shows which groups have access to view, comment upon, download, and rate this item
  • Clicking on the numeral will bring up a threaded discussion

Research Item

Tables and figures can also be attached within the comment thread. All Notes connected with the presentation can be viewed by clicking through the numbers in the header of the Annotation modal window.

Evidence Review

The “working version” of the Evidence Review reflects the latest consensus of the community regarding a specific cancer type; research, patient data and conversations are intended to validate, refute and amplify this document.

  • Full Evidence Review on this page accessible by scrolling TOC
  • Validated Members of the Melanoma group can add notes, comments, and proposed revisions to any paragraph, figure or table
  • Top right shows notifications and number/type of annotations
  • Nonmembers can download the latest working version (without comments) or the latest published (fully peer reviewed) version

Evidence Review

  • Validated Members can propose revisions and carry on conversations about them
  • Designated Editorial Board Members can accept or reject proposed revisions (and automatically receive notice of all proposed/accepted revisions)
  • Editors can also carry on private discussions about proposed revisions
  • When revisions are accepted, they turn from red to green, retaining the threaded conversation
  • Periodically, the working version is peer reviewed by experts external to the community and published as an iterative, Pubmed-indexed state-of-the-art review article


Collaborative Research will be launched as an open access, online-only journal, co-branded with a major publishing entity, that will accommodate all the types of evidence that derive from special interest groups on the rapid learning platform. Content types:

  • Continually updated Evidence Reviews
  • Micropublications – e.g., experimental results that support or question the published literature reflected in the Evidence Reviews
  • Clinical trials results (incl. negative outcomes)
  • Clinical annotations of genetic variants
  • Computable database of clinical case reports (Cases Central) with exceptional responses highlighted and discussed
  • N of 1 studies
  • Hypotheses / thought experiments

Confirmed Chief Editors for Collaborative Research: Precision Oncology

Hematology / Stem Cells
Anthony Blau, MD

Co-Director, University of Washington Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Professor of Medicine

George Demetri, MD, PhD

Director, Ludwig Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Professor, Harvard Medical School

Joel Dudley, PhD

Director, Biomedical Informatics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences

David Fisher, MD, PhD

Chief, Dermatology Service and Director, Melanoma Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

Genomics / Breast Cancer
Joe W. Gray, PhD

Associate Director, Translational Research, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Adrian L. Harris, PhD

Director, Molecular Oncology Laboratories, Oxford University

Colorectal Cancer
Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, FACP

Co-Director, Colorectal Center, USC Keck School of Medicine; Associate Director Clinical Research, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Lung Cancer
Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Dermatology and Director of Thoracic Oncology, University of Chicago Medical Center