Saturday, August 21, 2010

If you build it, will they come? Web 2.0 in research communication

Quite clearly, the advent of web 2.0 does not pass without effects on how researchers communicate. But how do web 2.0 technologies impact scientific communication? To find out the British Research Information Network commissioned a study and published the results in a report.

In deciding if they will make web 2.0 tools and services part of their everyday practice, the key questions for researchers are the benefits they may secure from doing so, and how it fits with their use of established services. Researchers who use web 2.0 tools and services do not see them as comparable to or substitutes for other channels and means of communication, but as having their own distinctive role for specific purposes and at particular stages of research. And frequent use of one kind of tool does not imply frequent use of others as well.


There has been considerable interest in the last two-three years in concepts of open science or open research; and in finding ways to put into effect the proposition that all kinds of information and other resources produced by researchers should flow as public goods into an open infrastructure that supports and facilitates reconfiguration and integration of those resources. Our findings show that very few researchers are as yet operating in this way. About half of respondents to our survey share their work with colleagues, but only a small group of enthusiastic open researchers – 5% of our respondents – publish their outputs and their work in progress openly, using blogs and other tools. Others consider such practices a waste of time, or even that it risks bringing ‘anarchy in science’.

The authors of this study recommend to watch the developments in this field. They do not expect immediate or short term effects on scientific communication. None of the new web 2.0 media do yet replace the traditional scientific communication media. Current users rather see the new media as a broadening of the spectrum of media available.

Procter, R., R. Williams, und J. Stewart (2010), If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0, Research Information Network, London, United Kingdom.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Geobulletin - News from the Geoblogosphere

The last days I have worked on the new version of Geoblogosphere News which has several new and nice functions:

  • First, I always found it a bit painful to type the long URL, so I decided to give the tool an own domain. Because every nice domain name containing geoblog etc. seems to be already sold, I bought which is now the new home for Geoblogosphere News. Therefore Geoblogosphere News is now:

    Geobulletin: News from the Geoblogosphere
  • The pages are now completely redesigned and I hope you like the new design..
  • As the new LOGIN link indicates there are some new community functions. Those of you who have an OpenID (e.g. blogger or wordpress URL) can login without registration and can start playing with geobulletin.
  • OpenID URLs are also used to verify a blog's owner and I plan to give you more possibilities to change the metadata of your blog.
  • After login you can choose 'favorite' blog posts by clicking on a little heart icon shown after each post. These favorites are used to generate a RSS feed which you can in turn use to include it in your blogging environment.
  • There is a -still experimental- DOSSIER section which can be used to give excellent posts on some 'hot topics' an own section.
    I have created 6 main categories, but this structure can be changed of course..
  • I will not show google ads any more. The 2 $ monthly didn't even cover Geoblogosphere News' hosting costs ;)
  • Well and there has been many, many code cleanups and changes etc, I therefore assume geobulletin will be a bit buggy. This is why I have added the small red 'alpha' to the headline.

Team Digital Preservation and the Planets Testbed

Elsevier and PANGAEA Take Next Step in Connecting Research Articles to Data

This is taken from Elsevier's press release:

Amsterdam, 29 July 2010 – Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and PANGAEA - Publishing Network for Geoscientific & Environmental Data - today announced their next step in interconnecting the diverse elements of scientific research. Elsevier articles at ScienceDirect are now enriched with graphical information linking to associated research data sets that are deposited at PANGAEA. This enrichment functionality offers a blueprint of how Elsevier would like to work with data set repositories all over the world.
Which is very nice indeed and shows the direction which 'linking data' hopefully takes! PANGAEA now delivers a small map (iframe) which Elsevier embeds in their article pages. It shows the geographical position of supplementary data which is archived at PANGAEA. Some examples for this can be found here or here: