Feeds

Scientists shun Web 2.0

Catch 22.0

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

SXSW Science publishers' efforts to have the research community sup the Web 2.0 Kool-Aid have failed, and scientists have given a resounding thumbs down to a gamut of crowd-tapping initiatives, showgoers at SXSW heard on Saturday.

A panel of science web publishers said scientists had consistently shunned wikis, tagging, and social networks, and have even proven reticent to leave comments on web pages.

The refusnik stance presents a puzzle in light of arguments in favour of Web 2.0 services which are more compelling for science than for trivia - the biggest web 2.0 market to date. The science game gave the world peer review after all, and scientists have often lauded and contributed to Wikipedia, despite its well-documented eccentricities and flaws.

Bio-Med Central boss Matt Cockerill invoked the example of the SWISS-PROT database to illustrate the value scientists could extract from greater online collaboration. The database is the hand-curated gold standard for protein sequence information, but the current backlog of proteins constantly being turned up by automated research techniques would take SWISS-PROT thousands of years to annotate. Convincing the research community to enter the information wiki-style, make the links to other proteins, and document the function would speed matters up considerably.

Digg-style bookmarking could work as a short cut to maximising the impact of scientists' work too. The impact factor of research papers has hither to been measured by how many later articles cite them; a painfully slow drip which takes years to build up.

The penetration problem seems to stem from the extremely competitive and rigorous funding process. Research projects have to justify every penny and minute spent by their scientists, presenting a catch 22 for web 2.0 as a tool for science. Researchers won't use the tools until they justify their worth, but they are worthless unless researchers use them.

It's a conundrum that makes science a notoriously conservative market for publishers. Nature's head of web publishing Timo Hannay confessed that of the firm's myriad Web 2.0 projects, only a couple bring in any revenue.

Perhaps their experience with Web 2.0 is not to be so different after all. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.