Through the pooling of resources and, in particular, data, a project that would remain a distant dream if dependent on a single actor can become a reality.
Such collaborations can involve different research organizations, researchers from different disciplines, citizen science participation, or international cooperation.
The digital Tree of Life uses published data to visualize how over two billion living things on Earth have evolved in relation to each other … going back 3.5 billion years!
A collaboration of scientists from 11 different research organizations and funding through the U.S. National Science Foundation made this huge online tool possible. One of the scientists involved, genetics professor Douglas Soltis, observed
Twenty-five years ago people said this goal of huge trees was impossible. The open tree of life is an important starting point that other investigators can now refine and improve for decades to come.
— (Shekhtman, 2015)
The Tree of Life can be used or edited by anyone, free of charge. Explore the Tree of Life website.
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared on March 11, 2020, we've been witnessing its sweeping health, social, and economic impacts.
Sequencing the virus's genome and making a vaccine became urgent priorities. However, preparation of vaccines normally takes years, sometimes up to 15! Nevertheless, to the amazement of many, the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in June 2020, and as of February 23, 2021, 11 vaccines were in use worldwide. What made this possible?
International partnerships, starting with the public release of the first COVID-19 genome sequence by China in January of 2020, shortened the road to vaccination considerably. The United Nations World Health Organization spearheaded a huge international clinical trial they called the Solidarity Trial, which involved over 75 countries and reduced the time taken for clinical trials by 80%.