Stu: Can you share your impressions of the developments in the area of Institutional Repositories such as the MIT-Hewlett Packard collaboration on DSpace? Are there impediments that must be overcome for such systems to play an important role in sustaining and promoting scholarly communication?
Tim: Projects such as SIMILE which will leverage and extend DSpace by enhancing its support for arbitrary schemas and metadata though the application of Semantic Web technologies are particularly important in facilitating scholarly communication. As I mentioned earlier, to the extent that data can be encoded in common syntaxes like RDF and described with public vocabularies, they can be more accessible and more useful. People and applications can draw better correlations, better connections, better inferencing, and these can lead us to more effective use of information. Perhaps nowhere in the academic environment is this more important than the area of scholarly communication.
The impediments to success are much the same as impediments in the larger Web. We currently lack an ethos for reliable web publication. We need a closer connection between the technology and the institutional commitments necessary to maintain persistent identifiers and namespaces. We need a realignment of legal constraints and recognition of fair use within the context of the new digital infrastructure. We need to avoid as far as possible the constraints of patents or monopoly at any of the layers of the infrastructure.
We also need to sustain the open connectivity - the linking among people, organizations, data, and ideas - that drive the growth and diversity of the Web. We need to build all of this on a foundation of solid, clean Web standards that will be of universal benefit - for scholarship, for commerce, and for public and private information spaces.
(Thanks to Bob Bolander.)
Peter Suber at 12/05/2003 05:36:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.