Jitan Bhagat from the University of Manchester valiantly battled to be heard above the clatter of forks and plates in the main hall at lunchtime in order to demonstrate My Experiment.
It's a social, virtual research environment that allows users to find, use and share research objects in the form of workflows and other files, and to build communities around them. It has all the usual Web 2.0 features, explained Jitan, such as groups, friends, sharing and tags, but what makes it different is the function to 'credit and attribute' – to build a workflow a researcher might get help from someone or use an existing piece of research and they can easily reference it and can credit the people involved.
The focus is on sharing so it's easy to upload a workflow (which may be a chemistry protocol, or a text file, for example) and then others can upload different or revised information versions so that it becomes a collaborative effort. There's a fine grain level of sharing which allows the user to decide who can look, download or modify a workflow, while others can rate workflows, comment and link to them.
Jitan proudly displayed a Google map showing the extent of take up of My Experiment across the world. The site now has over 1600 registered users, with 2397 unique visitors over the last month.