August 2007
The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications & Cyberinfrastructure
Lee Dirks, Microsoft Corporation
Tony Hey, Microsoft Corporation


This issue also includes two special articles in the “Perspectives” section:

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, Scientific 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.

And finally, Peter Suber’s “Trends Favoring Open Access” article is a personal closing look at where things stand with Open Access. From the opening lines of this strongly-opinionated piece, you glean the fact that that Suber clearly views the Open Access movement as a joint endeavor (evidenced by the many mentions of “us” across the article), a community undertaking with this as a mid-term report card. In this assessment, he acknowledges the short-comings and inadequacies to date (namely, low deposit rates), but he also calls out the significant achievements – specifically the solid momentum and high-arching trajectory of Open Access. What is undeniable is the dramatic progress that has been made on all nearly all fronts – progress that would have been nearly unimaginable 5-10 years ago. That said, Suber is also quick to point out the areas where for-profit companies are continuing to consolidate their positions. There is a battle raging and a victory for Open Access is not yet assured—although the tide would appear to be turning.

Evidenced by the breadth of trends and topics addressed in this issue and the progress we are seeing in the environment overall, we are obviously at an inflection point in the world of Open Access + Cyberinfrastructure. Perhaps not at the fabled tipping point – yet – but we have clearly summated the crest of one range and find ourselves peering anxiously at the next (last?) set of mountains to conquer. There can be no question: it is no longer IF, but WHEN…and some would argue the coming revolution has already arrived.

Pages: 1 2 3

Reference this article
Dirks, L., Hey, T. "Introduction," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 3, Number 3, August 2007. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2007/08/introduction/

Any opinions expressed on this site belong to their respective authors and are not necessarily shared by the sponsoring institutions or the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Any trademarks or trade names, registered or otherwise, that appear on this site are the property of their respective owners and, unless noted, do not represent endorsement by the editors, publishers, sponsoring institutions, the National Science Foundation, or any other member of the CTWatch team.

No guarantee is granted by CTWatch that information appearing in articles published by the Quarterly or appearing in the Blog is complete or accurate. Information on this site is not intended for commercial purposes.