Big Data and MOOCs Herald Change for Academic Publishers | Publishing Perspectives
"Big Data, MOOCs and author/researcher tools were the main themes of the International Association of Science Technical & Medical Publishers Innovations Seminar 2013 held last week in Washington, DC. Speakers from both within and outside the academic publishing industry converged on these three topics as this segment of the industry moves rapidly to a digital environment. Keynote speaker, Dennis Gannon, Director of Cloud Research Strategy at Microsoft Research, emphasized that a data revolution is transforming science. 'We are now in the fourth paradigm of science, evolving from prior scientific methodologies: experimental, theoretical, and computational. This paradigm is not hypothesis driven. Now data can be used for exploration and data mining to reach scientific findings,' he said. But, Gannon cautioned, the data need to be scalable, sustainable and curatable ... Deep learning is another trend to watch. Deep learning can be both supervised and unsupervised. 'Unsupervised machine learning is what is really interesting. You can find the hidden structure in data without labels and present the data with no hypothesis. You just start grouping data,' Gannon explained. As an example,Geoffrey Hinton at University of Toronto processed more than 10 million unlabeled YouTube images to produce classifications ... Heather Ruland Staines of SIPX explained why publishers should care about MOOCs (massive open online courses). Staines defined MOOCs in a very broad sense to include what she termed 'free-range' MOOCs that don’t necessarily provide any actual course structure, but just focus on a desire to learn. She explained that there are a lot of players in the MOOC space including Coursera, edX and Udacity. Khan Academy provides practical learning.Futurelearn is a UK universities’ initiative andOpen2Study is an Australian effort. There are also online course enablers that help you to create courses. Business models for MOOCs are still in a state of flux, according to Staines. In most cases the MOOCs are still venture-funded, but they will need to become sustainable soon. Some of the models now being explored include payment for academic credit, certificates, proctored exams, leads for job recruiters, leads for admissions officers and competency-based awards through federal funding. MOOCs are growing rapidly because they represent a new form of brand extension, especially for prestigious universities. They are also useful for remedial education, oversubscribed courses, introductory courses, satellite campus connections, test preparation, recruiting and admissions, CME, executive programs and corporate training. Celebrity MOOCs have also become popular ..."