Beyond the PDF – the good the bad and the future?

I’ve finished a hectic 9 days with #pmrhack, #pmrsymp and #beyondthepdf. I’ll need weeks to do justice to all of these. So a few immediate reactions to BtPDF.

A mixed community, mainly scientsis, some IT/Library people , some ICT companies and some publishers. Perhaps 50 people. Wonderful hospitality. Great discussions and presentations (with a strong bio-flavour – this was anticipated).

Surprisingly the most exciting stuff happened with the group of people staying on till today with no formal business. We’ve started a “Writing” project which now takes Peter Sefton’s “Fascinator” as the framework. I’d seen it before in USQ / Toowoomba but it’s come on a lot. It wowed everyone who saw it (many didn’t as they were in other sessions). I am sure it is one way that we manage the results of Quixote.

There is also a large groundswell of those who want to develop new types of scholarly communication. So, for example, can we publish our 2 days of #pmrhack? We think so and I’ll be tackling this when I get back. The bio- community is into ontologies, annotations, etc. (There was relatively little non-bio – we didn’t see any quantities with units, any chemical diagrams, any maps, any maths, etc.). But lots of excitement.

On the other hand I am increasingly depressed by the position of publishers. There is an assumption (by them) that they “own” the scholarly content and that they give us permission to use it. If you think I am being over-reactive, read Richard Poynder interviewing Springer . Springer is simply out for what it can milk the academic community for – there is nothi8ng about how S brings benefit to academia. Scientists are living in occupied territory – we need permission to use our own creation. We know that there needs to be money in the system – and we discussed business models in the meeting. But unless we scientists design these business models for our benefit we will simply be manipulated by the commercial world.

Plane is leaving – thx to San Diego airport for free wifi


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One Response to Beyond the PDF – the good the bad and the future?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - Beyond the PDF – the good the bad and the future? « petermr's blog --

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