New Directions in Open Research


Clifford Lynch (L) and Lee Dirks (R)

Clifford Lynch, Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), and Lee Dirks from Microsoft Research gave a wonderful presentation in the final plenary session on the first day of the Charleston Conference.

Lynch began by enumerating some serious problems with the present system of scholarly communication in science.  These are not economic problems. They include:

  • Scale: scientific publishing is getting bigger and bigger–a scientific paper is published every 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Speed: We are under constant pressure to make research and discovery move faster. Achieving speed is often at high cost. We have huge problems with filtering and validating work.
  • Access: One of the hopeful possibilities for getting a handle on these problems is doing computation on the literature. But getting access to enough data is difficult because it is in silos.
  • Communication: There is a growing disconnect with practices and norms in scholarly work and how communication is operating. An excellent book about this is The Fourth Paradigm, which is available for free download.

More and more science is data- and computation-intensive and relies on communications among geographically displaced people. Some systems are starting to look at this–myExperiment is a system that lets researchers make their data accessible for sharing.

We must get past designing articles with the same old presentation of science where there are major issues of reproducibility, adding other people’s work, and recognition of data as a primary input and output of scientific inquiry.We need to manage data and integrate it into the traditional scholarly literature.

Lee Dirks from Microsoft Research followed and enumerated 7 platforms for open research that have started to emerge in the last 12 to 18 months.  They facilitate collaborative research with academia, and particularly scholarly communication. Many of them are open source, and have an API for sharing.  Here are Lee’s slides describing each one (I thank him for providing me with these copies and giving me permission to post them here).






These platforms all integrate into the Scholarly communication life cycle, as shown here.

Scholarly communication life cycle


Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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