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Thoughts on the future of scientific dissemination

CollectionsAustralian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR)
Title: Thoughts on the future of scientific dissemination
Author(s): Bourne, Phil
Keywords: APSR
Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories
Scientific discourse has traditionally been conducted primarily through the scientific literature and face-to-face scientific meetings. The data supporting that discourse was either not available, or only available by special request to the generators of that data. The internet has changed the way we undertake that discourse, but I would argue only marginally. Data are now available through on-line databases – although not usually data for failed experiments. Traditional publishers have learnt how to use the internet as a dissemination medium, but little else. In short the power of the medium has yet to be realized. Glimmers of change are found in open access publishing made possible when dissemination costs plummet, but where are the killer applications that make use of this full on-line text? On-line databases strive for more automated and manual annotation, while publications accept data as supplemental information, but where are the applications that bring these together? PDFs are often a poor medium to convey scientific ideas and understand data when a video clip could do so much more. Where is the YouTube for scientists? Unread papers bring academic credit, but well read entries on blog sites do not; entries into databases and sites such as wikipedia count for nothing, why? These questions are not without preliminary answers and we will discuss some of the work that we and others are undertaking to address the beginning of a change in how we communicate and learn as scientists.


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