Panorama of collaborative digital tools for knowledge and data sharing between scientists


Collaborative mode is very present today in our personal and professional lives. It is also booming in modern research.

More ambitious, multi-disciplinary and expensive projects, an ever-increasing number of scientific articles, fiercer global competition: Digital collaboration platforms between scientists can answer major challenges to advance research.

Despite the proven effectiveness of these platforms, many scientists are not aware of them, or are getting lost amidst the profusion of tools available. They’d rather stick to good old basic tools (like Excel, Word, etc.). This is one of the reasons why research is lagging behind in terms of its own digital transformation.

Here is an overview of existing digital tools for collaboration and exchange among scientists.

Collaboration is on the rise in modern research

According to UNESCO, international collaboration between scientists has become unavoidable. Thus, still according to UNESCO, in 2014 one scientific article out of four had been co-signed by a international team, compared to one in five a decade earlier. This is a significant increase.

Several factors explain this trend towards more cooperation:

  • The sharp increase in the number of researchers since 2008 (+ 21%, ie nearly 8 million researchers worldwide).
  • Intensified competition between researchers for the publication of scientific articles in the most reputable journals and for obtaining good positions in the best research centers and universities, that themselves are competing fiercely to attract and retain the best talents available.
  • The development of open science, fostered by the internet, a movement to make accessible to all the results of scientific research, including publications and research data.

Digital platforms foster collaboration between actors in the scientific community

Collaboration between scientists has therefore become an indispensable part of modern research.

What digital tools can facilitate this collaboration?

We identify two families:

  • Tools to collaborate and connect more easily with the entire scientific community.
  • Tools for sharing data and resources with the wider scientific community.

Collaborative Platforms

These collaborative platforms make it possible to facilitate the implementation of large-scale international projects by connecting experts and researchers to easily find new cooperations and feedback. They also contribute to improving the visibility of universities and research institutions.

Here are some examples of specialized collaborative platforms:

Data and Resource Sharing Platforms

There are also digital platforms specializing in the sharing of data and resources between the various actors in the scientific community. In fact, instead of developing from scratch a protocol, testing an antibody, performing an experiment yourself, or buying a new instrument, you can access and use data and resources from other researchers via digital platforms.

Here are some examples of platforms:

Key takeaways

Collaboration is today a concept well anchored in our minds. It is  now clear that collaboration and sharing of data between scientists has become essential for optimal realization of large-scale research projects. This is why we are currently seeing a significant growth in the number of digital platforms around these two main needs.