Many researchers avoid grappling with new techniques when a familiar procedure yields reliable results. This reluctance prevails even when new kits or reagents could save considerable time and effort. Early last year, Stanford University labmates Dean Hung and Trevor Bezdek devised a remedy to this long-standing tradition with the launch of, a forum for scientists to give their opinions on products, kits, reagents, and equipment. "What [the founders] realized is that whenever they had a problem, they would go ask the postdoc down the hall," says Rosy Lee, product manager at Biowire. "But they were limited in the community they had access to."

Now, users logging on to can read product reviews written by other scientists and post their own opinions about specific products they've used. A section called "Voodoo Hints" provides a place for scientists to publish those all-important bits of lab lore that never seem...

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