O3: ORION’s new social networking platform for Ontario researchers and their collaborators provides the most comprehensive suite of social networking and collaborating tools for research and knowledge mobilization.
Launched for early adopters at Discovery 2009, O3 serves the needs of: researchers “O3 enables researchers across groups, institutions and geographies collaborate on specific projects or build a community share ideas”; students “O3 is perfect for graduate students who need a place to collaborate on research wherever they are or create and share content that supports their learning” and educators “educators can build repositories of curriculum and teaching strategies to share across schools, boards and subject areas or interact with students.” O3 has elements of social networking (blog, profile, messaging, comment board, photo gallery, chat) combined with the collaboration tools of a wiki and discussion forum combined with a document management system. No other platform that I know of combined all of these elements.
And it’s free to Ontario researchers, educators and their collaborators both inside and outside Ontario. Members of the Ontario R+E community can contribute to the O3 community at large or have their own sub-community for their organization that can be as public or as private as they want to be. Throughout the summer, ORION is looking for keen early adopters to try out the service and help it tweak it for its official October launch at the ROM.
ResearchImpact has been a featured project on O3 since its launch and we have been exploring the functionalities for a couple of months. On July 14 ResearchImpact hosted a morning of O3 play where we got to play with the features and provide technical and user feedback to ORION. York’s KM Unit welcomed participation from ABEL, the Steacie Library, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Canadian Mental Health Association, Institute for Work and Health and Mobilizing Minds a large mental health knowledge mobilization project hosted by York and U. Manitoba (see our previous Mobilizing Minds blog posting here) as we explored O3.
According to Liz Lambert (IWH), “O3 has many of the features that will allow IWH to manage our systematic reviews and other knowledge exchange projects. We look forward to exploring these features in greater depth.”
Certain features need to be improved such as the wiki (but we understand that a new wiki is forthcoming) and the message feature which needs to embrace more than 1-to1 messaging. Overall the greatest attraction is the degree of flexibility of the system. We were able to imbed a blog and twitter feed widget into the ResearchImpact O3. We are also able to adeptly manage a variety of permissions to allow differential access to different features.
In addition to ResearchImpact, York University Information Technology is piloting O3 as a collaboration platform for research at York. O3 promises to be the most useful tool for network enabled knowledge mobilization. ResearchImpact will begin using O3 as a social networking platform for its main operation platform and we will encourage ResearchImpact associated projects such as Mobilizing Minds to adopt O3.
For more information on O3 please contact Gary Hilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.