SePublica : Overview of my Polemics presentation #scholrev

This is a list of the points I want to cover when introducing the session on Polemics. A list looks a bit dry but I promise to be polemical. And try to show some demos at the end. The polemics are constructive in that I shall suggest how we can change the #scholpub world by building a better one than the current one.

NOTE: Do not be overwhelmed by the scale of this. Together we can do it.

It is critical we act now

  • Semantics/Mining is now seen as an opportunity by some publishers to “add value” by building walled gardens.
  • Increasing attempts to convince authors to use CC-NC.
  • We must develop semantic resources ahead of this and push the edges

One person can change the world

We must create a coherent community

  • Examples:
    • Open Streetmap,
    • Wikipedia
    • Galaxyzoo
    • OKFN Crowdcrafting,
    • Blue Obelisk (Chemistry – PMR),
    • ?#scholrev


  • Give power to authors
  • Discover, aggregate and search (“Google for science”)
  • Make the literature computable
  • Enhance readers with semantic aids
  • Smart “invisible” capture of information

Practice before Politics

  • Create compelling examples
  • Add Value
  • Make authors’ lives easier
  • Mine and semanticize current scholarship.

Text Tables Diagrams Data

  • Text (chemistry, species)
  • Tables (Jailbreak corpus)
  • Diagrams chemical spectra, phylogenetic trees
  • Data (output). Quixote

Material to start with

  • Open information (EuropePMC, theses)
  • “data not copyrightable”. Supp data, tables, data-rich diagrams
  • Push the limits of what’s allowed (forgiveness not permission)

Disciplines/artefacts with good effort/return ratio

  • Phylogenetic trees (Ross Mounce + PMR)
  • Nucleic acid sequences
  • Chemical formulae and reactions
  • Regressions and models
  • Clinical/human studies (tables)
  • Dose-response curves

Tools, services, resources

    We need a single-stop location for tools

  • Research-enhancing tools (science equiv of Git/Mercurial). Capture and validate work continuously
  • Common approach to authoring
  • Crawling tools for articles, theses.
  • PDF and Word converters to “XML”
  • Classifiers
  • NLP tools and examples
  • Table hackers
  • Diagram hackers
  • Logfile hackers
  • Semantic repositories
  • Abbreviations and glossaries
  • Dictionaries and dictionary builders


Advocacy, helpers, allies

  • Bodies who may be interested (speculative, I haven’t asked them):
    • Funders of science
    • major Open publishers
    • Funders of social change (Mellon, Sloane, OSF…)
    • SPARC, DOAJ, etc.
    • (Europe)PMC
  • Crowdcrafting (OKF, am involved with this)
  • Wikipedia





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