I have blogged earlier (cyberscience: Changing the business model for access to data) on the lack of access to data in cyberscience – there may be a data deluge in some areas but there is a drought in many others. I used the neologism “hypopublication” to describe the fragmentation and suboptimal publication of much of the research and suggested…

However the Internet has the power to pull together this fragmentation if the following conditions are met:

  • the data are fully Open and exposed. There must be no cost, no impediment to access, no registration (even if free), no forms to fill in.
  • the data must conform to a published standard and the software to manage that standard must be Openly available (almost necessarily Open Source). The metadata should be Open.
  • the exposing sites must be robot-friendly (and in return the robots should be courteous).

Carole Goble asked me about datuments and in reply I mentioned hypoblication. She liked the word and coined “HypoScience” in her talk. Again fragmented work though she also used the word mediocre – which I never intended (unless it was applied to the publishing industry)
Anyway today at the invitation of JISC and Mellon we are trying to work out where resources would be best targeted to increas awareness and effectiveness of digital curation. Liz Lyon, Simnon Coles and I are taking the case study of crystallography and extending it to science in general. But we exclude big-science – telescopes, colliders, satellites, etc. where the communities have a full understanding of the problem, and concentrate on laboratories – with chemicals, small furry creatures individual notebooks, white coats, etc. That’s where preservation (and often publication) is worst and where JISC and Mellon can make the most impact.

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