Scientific Publishing Task Force – how the semantic web may help organizing results

April 26th, 2009 by jose

According to Wikipedia, “the semantic web is expected to revolutionize scientific publishing, such as real-time publishing and sharing of experimental data on the Internet.” The W3C HCLS group’s Scientific Publishing Task Force is going to explore how this could happen.

Currently, one describes experiments in a more or less ad-hoc way. The mapping between experiments, papers, and titles is… well, not the most consistent ever.

Do you want to know if the experiment you have in mind is done already? Good luck mining the litclipboard26.04.2009 _ 22_14_43erature. Although mostly everyone is well-versed on building queries in scientific search engines, the task is far from accurate.

Maybe the problem is in the way we write the literature. If we could write a description of every experiment in some kind of agreed format that both humans and machines understand, searches would be trivial.

An alternative would be to use an ontology to describe experiments. The ontology should not be too complicated to use. If a user feels overwhelmed by the large number of parameters required to describe an experiment, this user may hesitate to do it. Of course, every field would need to built its own ontology. The effort to integrate ontologies across fields may be titanic.

There is some progress in the direction of using named entity extraction as metadata already. For example, the pubmed interface gopubmed is above and beyond anything I have seen. It uses facets (left sidebar) to show metadata. I do not know the details on how it works, but going back to say Web of Science after gopubmed feels like going 5 years back in time. Is there any hope to have a similar interface for all scientific databases? I sure hope so.

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3 Responses to “Scientific Publishing Task Force – how the semantic web may help organizing results”

  1. Simon SperoNo Gravatar Says:

    Some interesting, contrasting approaches of the issues involved in ontologizing across disciplines can be found in the work of Rick Szostak
    Birger Hjörland

    It’s a hard problem!

  2. Online Tutor Man aka Liam MartinNo Gravatar Says:

    Coming out of grad school recently and having to deal with piles upon piles upon PILES of academic material to sift through, I think your ideas are absolutely valid.

    The current system we have in the social sciences is even worse. I think an international recognized and standardized system to reorder all academic material is a must for academics to begin to properly sift through all the literature that is available through academic databases.

    I was dealing with an infinitesimally insignificant aspect of my academic cannon and still barely scartched the surface of the articles that had been written in the past few years. Secondly, using academic sifts to figure out what was important and what wasn’t also wasn’t useful as the relevant content didn’t always float to the top.

    I actually think a kind of ‘digg’ system would be the easiest way. You’d have to register as an accredited academic and could digg certain meta tags that were relevant to the content or the entire article but also link back to what you were researching so that the right content could float up for the right researcher.

  3. Liliana Barrio-AlversNo Gravatar Says:

    Transinsight’s wins the 2009 red dot: best of the best award for excellence in communication design

    Transinsight’s, the semantic search engine for the life sciences, has been recognized with the 2009 red dot: best of the best award in the category communication design – graphical user interfaces and interactive tool. A total of 6,112 submissions were received from 42 countries. The jury selected 470 entries for the “red dot design award.” A group of only 56 submissions were selected as “the best of the best” and will be participating in the final round for the “grand prix award.” The Transinsight team is proud to receive this prestigious award.

    Further information:

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