The NMRlipids project is an Open Collaboration project running at The main goal of the project is to find a model which correctly captures the atomistic resolution structure and dynamics of lipid membranes present in cells of living organisms. Such a model would be highly useful, for example, in structural biology, molecular medicine and drug design. The project started in 2013 from the comparison of lipid membrane simulation data with experimental NMR data, which clearly showed that the most used lipid model predicts unrealistic structures and incorrect interactions between membranes and other biomolecules. Consequently, the observations questioned several conclusions in the literature.

In the traditional scientific discourse my options were to immediately publish the findings in a scientific journal or continue the work by testing and improving different models and publish more extensive study later. In practise, the latter option was beyond the resources available for myself or any individual research group. On the other hand, I was suspecting that more extensive evidence would be needed to change the general opinion in the field.

Together with Dr. Markus Miettinen we decided to solve the problem by applying an alternative approach, inspired by the Polymath project ( and Linux, to disseminate and progress science. The initial findings were first published in arXiv [1] and then the NMRlipids project was launched at At this point an open invitation was presented for the community to test and improve available lipid models against the experimental NMR data, and report the progress through NMRlipids blog. The contributors were attracted by offering authorship in the peer reviewed publications to be produced by the project.

The NMRlipids project has now published three peer-reviewed publications [2-4], two sub-projects are running at their early stage and there are to

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