This September HSCI launched an online book aimed at providing the research community with up-to-date information on the state of stem cell biology. This freely available online resource, called StemBook, consists of original, peer-reviewed chapters written by top researchers in the field from around the world, and is overseen by an international editorial board of notable stem cell scientists.

So far over 70 chapters have been commissioned to be written by stem cell scientists from many institutions and many disciplines and more than 20 chapters have been published on the site. “It’s really something that’s going to grow and evolve,” Lisa Girard, PhD, the managing editor of StemBook said. “We could have 800 chapters with the amount of information out there. We’re only limited by our ability to control the quality.”

Though StemBook is an HSCI project, it is also a collaboration among scientists around the world. StemBook aims to make the most of its online format by including interactive elements such as videos and links to additional resources. The fact that it is online allows the book to be a dynamic resource since it can grow and be continually updated.

David Schaffer, PhD, professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of one of the chapters in StemBook, said that the fact that stem cell biology is a relatively new field makes an online resource such as StemBook particularly appropriate because it fills a niche that in more established fields is typically filled by print textbooks and review articles in scientific journals.

“You need something a bit more nimble when the field is at its birth,” Schaffer said. “I think it’s a great concept. We’re very glad to be a part of this and look forward to reading all the other articles over the next few months.”

The StemBook project is funded, in part, by a generous grant from an anonymous foundation and built in collaboration with Harvard’s Initiative in Innovative Computing. By providing a freely available, openaccess resource of high-quality information about stem cell science, HSCI has built a useful and encyclopedic, but current, tool for researchers across the entire global stem cell community.