2011 retrospective: meetings on the future of research communications

What a year it has been!  Four key meetings were held during 2011, bringing together academics, computer scientists and scholarly publishers to discuss the future of scholarly communication.  The first of these, a workshop entitled Beyond the PDF, organized and hosted in January 2011 by Philip Bourne at the University of California, San Diego, itself built on an earlier HyPER workshop organized in May 2010 in Amsterdam by Anita de Waard of Elsevier Labs (de Waard et al. 2009, [1]).  It was followed by a meeting entitled Beyond Impact, organized by Cameron Neylon of STFC at the Wellcome Trust headquarters in London in May 2011, that considered alternative metrics to the journal impact factor for the evaluation of research – and particularly researcher – merit.  In August 2011, a further meeting on The Future of Research Communication, organized by Phil Bourne of UCSD, Tim Clark of Harvard University, Robert Dale of Macquarie University, Anita de Waard of Elsevier Labs, Ivan Herman of the W3C, Eduard Hovy of the University of Southern California and myself, was held in Germany as a Schloss Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop.  This led to the formation of the Force11 Community dedicated to the improvement of research communication and e-scholarship, and to the publication in October 2011 of the Force11 White Paper (Bourne et al., 2011), that was submitted as evidence both to the Royal Society’s Science as a Public Enterprise project and to the UK Cabinet Office’s public consultation Making Open Data Real.  Finally, in October 2011, Microsoft Research and Harvard University jointly hosted a meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, entitled Transforming Scholarly Communication, that took these ideas forward.

Additionally, the benefits of Semantic Web technologies for libraries were recently discussed at the 2011 annual Semantic Web in Libraries meeting entitled Scholarly Communication in the Web of Data, held in Hamburg, Germany, in November 2011.

The thinking undertaken at these meetings contributed significantly to the formulation of my paper entitled The Five Stars of Online Journal Articles described in a previous post, and significantly advanced the community’s thinking as a whole both on semantic publishing of journal articles and on the issues surrounding research data publication.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 brings!

[1]  de Waard A, Buckingham Shum S, Carusi A, Park J, Samwald M, and Sándor Á (2009). Hypotheses, Evidence and Relationships: The HypER Approach for Representing Scientific Knowledge Claims. In: Proceedings 8th International Semantic Web Conference, Workshop on Semantic Web Applications in Scientific Discourse (26 Oct 2009, Washington DC.). Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer Verlag: Berlin.  http://oro.open.ac.uk/18563/.

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