Technological advances in computing provide major opportunities to accelerate scientific discovery. The wide availability of structured knowledge would allow us to take full advantage of these by enabling efficient human-computer interaction. Traditionally, biological knowledge is captured in publications and knowledge bases, however, the information in articles is not directly accessible to computers, and knowledge bases are constrained by finite resources available for manual curation. To accelerate knowledge capture and communication and to keep pace with the rapid growth of scientific reports, we developed the Biofactoid (biofactoid.org) software suite, which crowdsources structured knowledge in articles from authors. Biofactoid is a web-based system that lets scientists draw a network of interactions between genes, their products, and chemical compounds and employs smart-automation to translate user input into a structured language using the expressive power of a formal ontology. The resulting data is shared via public information resources, enabling author-curated knowledge to be appreciated in the context of all existing computable knowledge. Authors of recently published papers across a range of journals have already contributed their pathway information, much of which is novel and extends existing pathway databases into new biological areas. We envision the adoption of Biofactoid for crowdsourced curation by scientists and publishers as part of an ecosystem of tools that accelerate scientific communication and discovery.
Biofactoid server at https://biofactoid.org