As scientists, we all know the value of sharing data and collaborating on experiments. But traditional software-based tools for animal behavior research tend to silo the data collection and analysis phases of a study. Instruments are tied to specific computers and data must be analyzed on the same computer and then physically moved to a shared drive or emailed to collaborators. In the past few years, cloud data streaming and storage have made it possible to have multiple contributors work on projects simultaneously and to make data available instantly to multiple people - anywhere in the world. Cloud infrastructure has already been applied successfully to fields like genomics and has the potential to greatly facilitate collaboration in behavioral neuroscience as well.
BehaviorCloud is bringing the advantages of a cloud-connected workflow to researchers working on video-based animal behavior tracking. By streaming data over WiFi to a secure web platform, researchers can access, analyze, or share data from anywhere. And now, we are proud to introduce a new feature for collaboration that allows users to set permissions on a per-experiment basis to allow collaborators to access data and contribute to any stage of the experiment. Here’s how it works:
When you start a new experiment in your BehaviorCloud dashboard, you will see an option to manage sharing/collaborators. Enter the email address of your collaborator and choose the level of permission you would like to grant: read only (can view data but cannot edit), read/write (can view, contribute, and edit), or admin (full permission, including to delete an experiment). Your collaborator will receive an email notification prompting them to login and access the shared experiment.
Experiments are organized in your dashboard as "My Tests" or "Shared with Me", meaning experiments you have created or been allowed permission to access, respectively. In "My Tests", private experiments are indicated by a shield icon and experiments with collaborators are indicated with a users icon.
Including collaborators on a BehaviorCloud experiment can facilitate your work in a number of ways. For example, multiple researchers can contribute data to the same experiment. This is helpful if several people are running different tests or you want to increase throughput by running multiple tests in parallel. Second, different researchers can participate in specific stages of a study. One person may be responsible for data collection, but needs the raw data easily accessible to a second person who will be responsible for statistical analysis. And third, PIs, supervisors, and other stakeholders can easily check in on an experiment’s progress simply by logging into their account from any computer or mobile device.
We hope you’ll try adding collaborators to your next experiment - we think you’ll be impressed by how efficiently you can share and contribute! And if you’re not using BehaviorCloud yet, take advantage of our free account to see for yourself how our cloud-based tools can improve your research.