Was at a workshop on Semantic Enrichment of the Literature. There were a combination of text miners, ontologists and publishers. It was a pretty interesting meeting; however, there was a lack of coherence. The problem is, at the moment, there are too many interacting possibilities of the way scientific publishing could develop, and too many requirements. The big issues that I can see are:

  • Electronic Publishing
  • High Throughput
  • Open Access

Electronic publishing give us enormous possibilities, of which we have barely touched the surface. Should we go "wiki", should we enable annotation of papers after publication, and, if so, how do we maintain the provenance the literature curation that we have at the moment. High throughput means that we are suffering from a — data deluge, tsunami, insert your meteorological metaphor here — means that we have to support computational amenability. Finally, the open access movement offers the possibility that we can investigate these issues, while leaving the raw data free for the future and, frankly, without having to constantly wait for the lawyers and finance people to catch up.

Each of these issues are complex enough, in and off themselves. But combine all of them together—well, it’s unsurprising that we lack coherence.

Originally published on my old blog site.