What's ahead for scholarly communication

[n.b., this entry is a mash-up of all presentations at this session.]
  • Greg Tananbaum – Consultant
  • James Mullins – Dean of Libraries, Purdue University
  • Ian Russell, Chief Executive, Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers
Changes in scholarly communication
  • Integration of data in primary literature.
  • Preservation of digital archive.
  • Government intervention – unfunded mandates.
The need for authoritative scholarly literature that’s been vetted and peer reviewed is as great as ever. Cf., the endangered Northwest tree octopus.

The Dragon Economy: the next scientific revolution is coming from the East.

In China, R&D spending has tripled in the last 10 years. 1.23% of the GDP is spent on R&D. This is a huge amount, comparatively, and the Chinese government intends to invest 2.5% of the GDP by 2020. The Chinese are making a significant investment in the infrastructure. In the US, research funding is harder to come by.

Researchers trained in the States and other Western countries are returning to China, because of better funding, better salaries, and post-9/11 immigration problems.
Researchers and academics are revered in China. These scholars are bringing teaching and research methods from the West . Returning academics are forcing higher standards for research and publication.

University enrollment tripled between 1995 and 2003. China's current world share of all science papers is 7%.

English is compulsory in high school. There are 110 million Chinese studying English, compared to 50,000 Americans studying Chinese.

This article from JCB, Wells, 2007: 176:4 376-401 was referenced. It provides a good overview of the current research environment in China.

Espresso Book Publishing Machine


Any book published in last five years will never be out of print. Why buy and store books? The Espresso printer downloads and prints bound copies in 3 minutes. The copies are not archival quality, but so what? The archival copy is the digital version. New York Public Library has purchased an Espresso, and NYU is experimenting. At $20,000 it’s not out of reach. Will Google be the shared digital repository?

Librarians and the Research Process

Librarians traditionally consider the research process complete after examining tertiary or secondary sources. This is no longer adequate according to researchers. The research article itself provides the best metadata to re-search the literature. Researchers are finding ways to automate the process of taking new terminology and language from newly published articles and use it to search the literature.

Research in progress should be archived and preserved. Librarians should insert themselves further upstream in the research process. Don’t wait for the published article. Archive and preserve digital data produced in the research process.

Projects to Preserve Digital Data

Purdue Ionomics Information Management System
Information Flow and data storage project funding by NSF. This is what a library is!

Sustainable Digital Data Preservation and Access Net Partners. DataNET

The new role of librarians is to help researchers organize data. The library must insert itself into the research process before publication.