New Version of Social Network for Scientists and Puerto Rico

Length of Engagement: 2013- ongoing

Altamente was hired by Ciencia Puerto Rico as the technology solutions provider and consultant responsible for migrating a five year old social media platform in active use by over 5,000 scientists to a new more robust version. Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) is a nonprofit organization composed of scientists, professionals, students and citizens committed to promoting science, research and science education in Puerto Rico.

Ciencia Puerto Rico was founded in 2004 by several Puerto Rican PhD students studying and working in various states. Their initial goal was to connect people working or studying science that had a connection to Puerto Rico as a topic or as a place of ethnic identity or origin, thus facilitating the sharing of information and facilitating mentorship opportunities. The original social platform Ciencia Puerto Rico ran on a legacy site ran on a web page publishing system that was developed in-house. As is typical after a few years, a small team finds it a challenge to maintain and add features. As such, it suffers what we refer to as bit rot, the tendency of legacy systems to become less and less functional over time. However, Cienciapr.org has developed an enormous amount of content in this legacy system and any change requires that all its user profile information, accounts, and posts continue to be available.

The new version of Cienciapr.org was required to include existing historic content, users, and user profiles to a new, stable, mature OpenSource (Software Libre) CMS with easy to use publishing tools, a flexible programming environment to extend capability, and key community features to aid its network of scientists in the promotion of the sciences in Puerto Rico. For this task, Altamente implemented and configured Drupal CMS using both MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. The task was completed within the three months period proposed, with additional training and support extending the engagement for nearly 6 months.

New features addded to the site included:

  • search engine optimization, as well as
  • improved onsite  searches for member and content
  • broader integration of multimedia content,
  • a mobile optimized theme,
  • integration of calendaring, webforms and more robust forums, and
  • a custom developed Google API tool for the display of scientists with different expertise. You can find visit

Upon completion, Altamente has remained a trusted partner and volunteer serving CienciaPR as advisor and supplier. Members of this science community have now grown, nearly doubling in size in less than a year.