Happy birthday to Trellis! Celebrating our first birthday

Time flies when you’re having fun! A year ago we launched Trellis, the new platform for scientific communication and collaboration, into a private beta. Launched as a “minimum viable product,” Trellis had a basic set of features including professional profiles, newsfeeds, discussions, and group hierarchies. We launched with just a couple of groups, including Public Engagement with Science and Tools for Evidence-Based Action, and a hundred or so members.

A year later, how different things look. We now have around 6,000 members from across disciplines and around the world. One of our favorite moments of the year happened during a demo with an interested scientist from New Zealand. When we asked him how he had heard of Trellis, he said “Well, I was at a conference in Hanoi and someone was talking about it.” You know what they say (roughly paraphrased) – “if they’re talking about you in Hanoi …”

Trellis users are already doing incredible things. There are lab groups holding journal clubs. An NSF-funded research project is bringing together surface and subsurface geoscientists to studying the Great Oxygenation Event. There are large communities of practice discussing topics like Public Engagement or Broader Impacts. An international group is discussing advances in animal husbandry. There are groups developing new materials for mathematics instruction. Scientific associations (including AAAS) are testing Trellis as their platform for engagement with and among their members. And much more. The breadth of use is really exciting.

Many happy returns! Image by Flickr user, Bart: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/5262655082/
Many happy returns! Image by Flickr user, Bart: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/5262655082/

As a platform, Trellis has grown by leaps and bounds. From that initial minimum product, we have added Document Sharing, Status Updates, Shared Events Calendars, Group-branded Notifications (and the ability to control your notifications), Admin tools (including a full suite of content moderation), and untold enhancements to all of the above based on the feedback of our members. And we are not stopping there. We are continuing to improve all of those tools while looking ahead to adding more capabilities, such as collaborative authoring and ORCID support. And because we control our own development roadmap, we are able to respond to our members’ needs and feedback in a timely way.

So with a year under our belts, we can’t wait for the year to come. Not only will we be welcoming a swelling number of users (and hopefully opening up to individual members by the end of March or beginning of April), but we also will be continuing to enhance the capabilities of the platform. And, thanks to the generous support of the Sloan Foundation, we will be developing and introducing the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows program to help professionalize and institutionalize the role of the community engagement manager in the scientific community.

Thank you for all of your participation and support.

The Trellis Team