Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Science 2.0

First of all, I'm not doing research in this area but I'm a user of Web 2.0 services and would like to use it for disseminating my research results, e.g., see one of my previous posts. Furthermore, I'm an associate editor for Computing Now and would like to share some findings I've gathered together with respect to Scientific Publishing + Web 2.0 = Science 2.0. If one does a Google search on this, one might get back quite a few results. However, here's my view on that and maybe you like it - or not - but in any case, your feedback is very much appreciated! First of all, Computing Now is already some kind of Science 2.0 service as it provides a mash-up of articles across all IEEE Computer Society magazines that are related to a certain topic identified by the editorial board. Check out our editorial calender for details and upcoming issues.


However, traditional scientific publishers like IEEE and ACM/Springer still follow they "good old procedure": (1) Submit a paper, (2) peer review, (3) revision if necessary, (4) submit camera-ready paper, and (5) publishing in a journal which appear on a regular basis, even still in print format, but in any case PDF only! I also have still some subscriptions running but I must admit that I rarely look into it, i.e., the print versions.

Recently, they've started to provide RSS feeds (e.g., Computing Now Feeds) but still they are updated once a month or so and with each update one receives a punch of new online papers for which its difficult to overview them. Furthermore, there's almost no possibility to share your feedback to a certain article other than posting it on your own blog or get directly in touch with the authors by email. However, if one visits Computing Now Web site right at the moment, one is able to share articles from the "current theme" and "new articles" sections using an AddThis button and there is also a commenting feature BUT one has to login with her/his IEEE account! Anyway, I know that people are working hard in order to improve the current situation ... stay tuned.

Nevertheless, I'd like to come back to my understanding of Science 2.0 and here's a brief high-level workflow how it should look like. For quality assurance one needs a review process which is okay for me but once it comes to the publishing, people should start thinking about alternatives (see also figure above):
  1. Make the paper available as HTML/XML (e.g., like a blog post) so that people can comment on it and enable efficient sharing possibilities. Once the content (i.e., the paper) is available in a structured format, one can easily repurpose it for whatever other needs (e.g., platforms, devices, etc.). That is, everything needs to be repurposeable!
  2. Ask authors to provide alternative presentation forms like slides (e.g., for Slideshare) or even a video (e.g., for YouTube).
  3. Most authors are asked to provide an abstract so why not asking them to provide a 100 character summary for Twitter or identi.ca. The abstract could be still used for Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, etc. which allow for more characters/words.
  4. Finally and most importantly, utilize the feedback (see also figure above) from the readers coming through the various social network channels and bring it back to the authors, i.e., by email or any other communication media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS, etc.) the authors have provided during the submission of the camera-ready paper. In this way we would create a new Web 2.0-enabled scientific discourse ultimately leading to real Science 2.0.
For sure the last bullet is the most difficult/complex one but no worries there are already tools out there which at least partially support this kind of functionality and they are generally referred to as commenting systems (e.g., DISQUS, JS-KIT ECHO, IntenseDebate, etc.). Okay, that's it from my side and I hope to receive a lot of comments and feedback ...
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