Blog archive for August, 2007

SciVee round-up

August 28th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

So much has been written about SciVee, the new Web site dubbed “the YouTube for science research papers”, that we’ve decided to take on the round-up post instead of restating the good words of our peers. For those who may not know, the site is a project of the National Science Foundation, the San Diego Super Computing Center, and the Public Library of Science. All video submitted to the site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. And scientists are only allowed to upload publications as part of their video submissions that were published in Open Access journals.

The site joins other projects focused on presenting scientific videos and presentations, such as Science Hack, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), Bioscreencast, and Video Lectures, among others.

For more information about SciVee, visit their Web site, or check out some of the coverage linked below.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)




Peter Suber, Open Access News (and also, here.)

Looking towards a ‘Cyberinfrastructure for Knowledge Sharing’

August 21st, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

In the latest issue of CTWatch Quarterly, Science Commons’ John Wilbanks joins the ranks in writing about the future of scholarly communication as it relates to cyberinfrastucture. His article “Cyberinfrastructure For Knowledge Sharing” explores the reasons behind the inefficiencies in knowledge sharing, and what role Science Commons’ efforts play in this debate.

The issue, “The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communication & Cyberinfrastructure” was guest edited by Lee Dirks and Tony Hey of Microsoft Corporation. From the “Introduction”, coauthored by Dirks and Hey:

“In John Wilbanks’ piece, “Cyberinfrastructure for Knowledge Sharing,” we see an intriguing outline of the many painful issues currently faced in achieving true scientific research in our current information environment. The core thesis behind Wilbanks’ article is that “…we aren’t sharing knowledge as efficiently as we could be” — meaning that even though the potential is there, we are not yet realizing the full potential presented to us by cyberinfrastructure. The content is there, the data is there, but the entire system and network is not yet fully “wired” and functioning for optimal efficiency. Indeed, Wilbanks posits, we’re not even close. To address this opportunity space, [Science] Commons was created to overcome hurdles related to (1) access to literature, (2) access to experimental materials, and (3) to encourage data sharing. Wilbanks describes some projects currently underway (e.g., Neurocommons), but also charges the community to address the challenge and make the most of the tools around them to push forward faster.”

Also in this issue are pieces by Clifford Lynch (CNI), Timo Hannay (Nature Publishing Group), Peter Suber, and many others. For a complete list of this issue’s contents, visit CTWatch’s Web site.

A report from Science Foo camp

August 9th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

A report from Science Foo camp, held this past weekend (Aug. 3-5) at the Googleplex.

SciFoo is an O’ReillyNature event. Over 200 leading scientists, science fiction writers, technologists, and an assortment of others are invited to the Googleplex, making this a truly cross-disciplinary and engaging event. Although there were numerous topics discussed, Open Science was a key theme. A few interesting points on the topic:

1. There was an overwhelming consensus that a problem exists with the current way science is communicated, be it in respect to publishing and journals, or in communication between scientists. And with the growing interest and attention given to “Web 2.0” and all that comes with, many believe that those developments are part of the big push to change how this is done. (“this” being the problems specified above, briefly touched upon for sake of time.)

2. More than one session looked into the reasons behind the apprehension existing in the community preventing the full adoption of current advances of the Web by scientists. There was also a lot of discussion about the further exploration of innovate modes of scientific collaboration.

This topic was first visited in a session entitled “Open Science 2.0” on Saturday morning. (for an in-depth look at that session, see Duncan Hull’s recap here). The first half of the session was spent rehashing the current state and frustrations with publishing, breeding a culture of fear and anxiety. (for more, see Alex Palazzo notes, here.) Fear of not getting published, tenure concerns, and more of the “publish or perish mentality”.

3. A follow-up session born out of “Open Science 2.0” looked at these issues from the perspective and relating to young scientists (led by Andrew Walkingshaw and Alex Palazzo. Notes here, here and here.) Though I sadly had to miss the session, I was able to catch up with Andrew later that day, as well as read write-ups after the fact. Alex brought up a good point in that unless a general consensus comes from all of the players (publishers, funders, academics, etc.), junior scientists are less likely to participate in new 2.0-esque and exploratory methods of scientific communication. Too much of a risk exists that could have lasting effects on the young scientists’ careers.

4. A good amount of attention was paid to recent technological advances, especially social networking, blogs, wiki-science and so forth. A session on social-networking and nature, led by Josh Knauer and John Durant, looked into how to best take advantages of these applications and what, if any, place they had in the future of science on the Web.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to what can be written in the days following SciFoo. To follow the other chatter from the science blogging community, you can visit this site, graciously set up to aggregate participants’ blogs.