Monday, 14 April 2014

The future of scholarly communication

David De Roure, University of Oxford, Oxford e-Research Centre

This morning on the opening day of UKSG 2014 David De Roure presented his view on the future of scholarly communication, looking at the shift in scholarship, end of the article, research objects and social machines.

The full slides are on, here is a summary of what I found most interesting:

Social media:
People doing completely new things with social media. New social processes – citizen reporting. 
Guardian reading the riots project ( about the Summer 2011 riots. Examples of rumours spread on Twitter before being confirmed or Denied; London eye on Fire, rioters attack London Zoo and animals on the loose
Information now interdisciplinary and "in the wild" - "in it" versus "on it", significant methodological shift

End of the article guy: 
8 points for why article has failed:
  1. No longer possible to include evidence in the paper – Container failure
  2. No longer possible to reconstruct a scientific experiment based on the paper alone
  3. Writing for increasingly specialist audiences restricted essential multi-disciplinary re-use
  4.  Research records needed to be readable by computer to support automation and curation 
  5. Single authorship gave way to casts of thousands
  6. Quality control models scaled poorly with increasing volume
  7. Alternative reporting  necessary for compliance with regulations
  8. Research funders frustrated by inefficiencies in scholarly communication - Outputs need to be  discoverable and reusable

myExperiment and Research Objects:
Isn't just about the data it is what you do with it – Methods are important, software, protocols etc. Need to look at software as well as data to get complete picture.

myExperiment ( is a tool to allow scientists to share workflows. Can associate other content with e.g. PDF and PPTs to create packs.

Research Objects ( - Enabling reproducible, transparent research.
The R Dimensions - Research Objects facilitate research this is reproducible repeatable, replicable, reusable, referenceable, retrievable, reviewable, replayable, re-interpretable, reprocessable, recomposable, reconstrutable, repurposable, reliable, respectable, reputable, revealable, recoverable, restorable, reparable, refreshable (See  for the photo)

Social machines:
Tim Berners-Lee talks about social machines as "...processes in which people do the creative work and the machine does the administration.." 
Wikipedia classic example – etiquette and protocol has developed over time and socially constituted
Every hashtag on Twitter can be considered social machine

Final thoughts/questions:
  1. Shifts in scholarship -A "turn" or ongoing transformation?
  2. End of the article - Don't retrofit digital, think post-digital
  3. Research Objects -Inevitable with automation. How do we cite them? how are they curated?
  4. Social Machines - Humans in the loop, empowered. Can you view your projects as social machines?

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