Feeds

Scientists shun Web 2.0

Catch 22.0

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.