Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Improving scientific literature through OA

Mark Liberman, Raising standards --by lowering them, Language Log, March 7, 2005. Excerpt: 'Improve the (professional) scientific literature. Here's a three-point plan: [1] Open access on the web for all scientific publications, with durable doi-style references. [2] Open access on the web for all data and programs involved in scientific publications. [3] Standard APIs for references in all scientific publications, and methods for inducing trackbacks across all achives of such publications. Point 1: Open access lowers encourages people to read (and evaluate!) primary sources, not just someone's summary. More people reading more papers is good. Point 2: All the data and programs behind published claims should be published in electronic form, so that readers can check methods and results, try alternative models, and (most important) build on others' work. This shortens the half-life of mistakes, and accelerates the spread of good ideas. Point 3: Now that nearly all journals, proceedings etc. are on the web, there's no excuse not to make it trivial to extract the citation graph (i.e. who cites whom for what). Then users can wander around in the graph, use it to calculate value via the analog of page-rank, and do all sorts of other neat things. The way things are currently done, finding the citation graph is a non-trivial exercise in text analysis and reference normalization, even for the documents that are not hidden behind a publisher's barrier. This is one place where "semantic web" ideas really ought to be imposed....All this stuff is happening anyhow. Let's do it faster.'