Addressing the Discontinuity between doing research and disseminating research

Prof. Philip E. Bourne
Pharmacology UCSD, and Editor-in-Chief of PloS Computational Biology
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In a previous era the discontinuity between doing research and publishing it was understandable. Ideas and hypotheses were written in laboratory note books, results of experiments would be manual readings also written in notebooks and manuscripts would be typed and hardcopy submitted for publication. In an era were we have a digital continuum across the scientific process, it is surprising how little has changed. We, as scientists, are largely to blame. As providers and consumers of science we have not pushed publishers to better disseminate our science so that it can be more widely and more easily comprehended. We are hung up on the rewards of the traditional process, when we should be doing more to change it. Open access opened the door slightly, interactive PDFs and semantic tagging are examples of further steps, but data, methods and the knowledge derived from those data and methods typically remain disparate, and little use is made of modern digital technologies such as rich media [1] to address these shortcomings and I will follow up with at least how we and other scientists are trying to move the ball forward.

[1] P. E. Bourne 2010 What Do I Want from the Publisher of the Future? PloS Comp Biol 6(5): e1000787