Advancing Laboratory Practices Through An Online Professional Community

Advancing Laboratory Practices Through An Online Professional Community


The Global Health Network ( is a successful and growing online science park that hosts over 20 online communities for different health research groups and crosscutting health topics. It is built for the health research community by researchers and public health practitioners themselves. It is also well known as a source of high-quality, peer-reviewed information and educational tools. The aim of The Global Health Network is to improve research and health outcomes through knowledge-sharing.

In recognition of the need for a highly interactive resource for laboratories that would offer a range of tools as well as a professional network, the Global Health Network created Global Health Laboratories ( Global Health Laboratories provides a space on the Global Health Network to support laboratory research in resource-constrained settings by making available a forum for knowledge exchange and skill-sharing between laboratories, laboratory professionals and researchers from around the world.

Global Health Laboratories is an open-access, online professional community where laboratory staff can discuss issues, seek help, share resources and methods, give and receive advice, and access quality peer-reviewed information about any aspect of laboratory practice. By enhancing networking and exchange among laboratories in a range of settings and disease areas, Global Health Laboratories seeks to enable equitable access to quality information resources and to promote good laboratory practice.

The range of resources and facilities that Global Health Laboratories offers include:

  • Laboratory protocols, standard operating procedures, templates and guidelines.
  • Expert input via Question and Answer topical discussions.
  • Online training materials including e-seminars and high-quality certified e-learning courses.
  • A professional network for laboratory managers, researchers and staff to share experiences and seek peer support and guidance.
  • Guidance articles about various aspects of laboratory practice and relevant open access articles from respected journals.

Global Health Laboratories also provides links to partner external websites with similar aims and ethos, such as ASLM and the Global Laboratory Directory (GLaDMap). The latter is a laboratory and laboratory network registry created by the World Health Organization to map worldwide laboratory capabilities that could be searched in situations such as disease outbreaks. GLaDMap is now hosted within Global Health Laboratories and is under on-going development.

Registering on Global Health Laboratories is free and open to anyone working in global health. With time, more facilities and tools will be added as determined by the needs and interests of its users. As more members join and contribute, the site will grow and evolve, becoming more useful and valuable.

Enhancing networks amongst laboratories globally, and providing forums for discussions and the coordination of effort, could create a plethora of new opportunities, such as enabling the mapping of particular health issues like antimicrobial resistance. The potential for coordinated laboratory interaction is vast, and yet currently untapped. Digital technology, though being greatly utilised by the commercial world, has not been fully harnessed in the public health sphere. The Global Health Laboratories site intends to foster virtual collaboration for the advancement of laboratory practices.

By: Karla Lam, DPhil (Global Health Network)

Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Lab Culture newsletter.