Our first all-hands meeting was at NESCent in May 2012. We revisited our goals, formalized our collaboration structure and then spent much time discussing the tasks and timelines required to meet our year 1 goal of releasing the draft tree.
Year 1 Goal
To release a draft tree of life that is better than NCBI. We define “better” as both more comprehensive in terms of number of tips, and also more resolved phylogenetically. This tree will be published with a basic annotation mechanism tied to clades, with the ability to upload new trees as input (including metadata for those trees). The nodes & branches of the tree should be clearly connected to the underlying data and methods of synthesis.
In the first year, we are taking an “all hands on deck” approach to building the draft tree and associated infrastructure. Our overall structure includes a managing team and four subgroups to distribute and focus the work:
Managing team: We decided that the lead PI + 10 co-PIs structure was not ideal in this size of collaboration. So, Karen, Rick and Doug will form an overall managing team.
Data / input: Curating source input trees, including finding and prioritizing publications, contacting collaborators, designing and developing software for data input, deciding on appropriate metadata. (Lead: Keith)
Course development: Development of modules and lesson plans for teaching focused on using the tree of life. (Lead: David)
Public outreach: Design and development of public-facing website for release of draft tree (Lead: Karl)
Synthesis / output: Methods for synthesizing input trees; large-scale graph database; language / provenance for synthesis; evaluating synthesized trees