In August, we launched the Beta release of the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas (GENERA). This is our long-term project to make it easier to find and understand the scientific literature on genetically engineered crops. When we released the beta version of GENERA we knew there was still a lot of work to be done, including adding and correcting citation information, funding, and outcomes for studies. We also got some feedback on its functionality (please take our survey!) and we are planning the next big update to occur in January. For this update, there is one section that we would like your help to build: links to outside analyses.
In GENERA, we report the outcomes of each study as reported by the authors, without analyzing whether we or anyone else thinks that the conclusions are warranted based on the data and analysis conducted. Our goal is to keep the information within GENERA unbiased. However, this leaves out some of the context of the study, and whether it has been accepted or rejected by other members of the scientific community, or regulatory agencies. Sometimes, there is extra depth to a study that people may find interesting that is also highlighted elsewhere. To broaden the information that people can learn about each study, we’ve created a section for “Links to Outside Analysis of this resource” – and we would love to have your help with crowd-sourcing links that we can add to this section.
Links to outside analyses (outside of GENERA, that is) will be presented without further comment. In some cases, there are excellent lay-person summaries of resources. In other cases, there are critical analyses that show flaws in the methods, statistics, or conclusions. Most analyses will be done by someone other than the authors but summaries by the authors are welcome as well. Our desire is to link to outside resources that are of good quality, and that describe, discuss, support, or criticize any and all of the studies contained in GENERA – and not just studies that reach particular conclusions.
Finding and adding these links will take time. That’s where you come in! Suggesting links is simple. We have a Google spreadsheet where you can enter the paper’s title, year, and 1st author (to help us match up the links with the GENERA database entry) along with the actual link and title of the outside analysis.
To volunteer, simply send us your Gmail address through the GENERA contact form. You will be added as an editor, and you can start adding links! This is open to anyone who wants to help add useful resources. The more diverse perspectives the better! We will review the links at the end of the year and add them in for our next update.
Some general guidance on what types of links to include:
- Links to concise, readable discussions of these resources.
- Links should point to the original source if available.
- Links to pages that meet general scientific standards. For ideas on what sorts of standards, see the “How can we tell if a study is good?” section of A Guide to Looking Smart on the Internet.
General guidance on what types of links to leave out:
- Links to pages that don’t have evidence to back criticisms or
- Links to pages that rely on fallacies including ad hominem, and other forms of faulty logic.
- Links to pages that misrepresent the resources they are discussing.
Thanks, and we hope you can take the time to help us improve GENERA for everyone!