Cellkulture shut down, but code alive on Github

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 2.47.24 PMCellKuture, the digital lab notebook that helps you track and manage cell cultures, shut down 5 months ago. But although the project in not actively being developed, the code lives on, published on the Github repository, free for anyone to use.

Startup turnover is a very natural thing to happen in the new space of Digital Science. Entrepreneurs simply cannot have a perfectly clear vision of what the research ecosystem will look like in a few years. Startups are taking their chances by exploring new markets and testing the reactions of customers to new services. And in this context, it can be hard to gather enough users to really push your startup off the ground, especially when targeting a niche market (like cell culture experts).

A consequence of this high-risk environment, is the sense of responsibility we should expect from these digital science startups. They should think in advance of opt-out options for users changing providers or if the company goes under. This means providing ways to export the data in a reusable format, and in some cases, providing the code so that users can continue to use the platform. CellKuture is doing exactly that by providing a functional software for free with instructions to install and run it. On top of making CellKulture users happy, this move could attract new users, and most importantly inspire other developers to build upon this piece of work.

Runmycode gives a second life to your code

Logo_RunMyCodeThe web 2.0 technologies can help generate new science, but can also greatly help after publication. For example, some of you are spending months or even years coding the perfect model for your study. You will input your parameters find interesting trends, publish and move on to another project.

But then what? Don’t you feel your work is left partially untapped?

What if your work could be applied to slightly different conditions or adapted to other problems? What if users from around the globe could access that code, and run it directly online?

Runmycode does exactly that. It allows you to create a companion website for your publication. The site can host a cloud-based version of your code that users can run at will. The users input the parameter, press run and generate new data. It’s that simple!

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 4.08.53 PM

Runmycode is a non-profit initiative. It resulted from a collaboration between many individuals and institutions, mostly located in France. I believe that this sort of “extension” to the classic publication is exactly what science needs to be more open and better communicated. Now only if a “RunMyExperiment” website for biological research could come-up…