A Journey to Open Access – Part 3 | Tony Hey on eScience

abernard102@gmail.com 2013-01-20


"When I joined Microsoft in 2005 to create an ‘eScience’ research program with universities, Turing Award winner Jim Gray became a colleague as well as a friend. I had first met Jim in 2001 and spent the next four years having great debates about eScience. Roughly speaking, eScience is about using advanced computing technologies to assist scientists in dealing with an ever increasing deluge of scientific data. Although Jim was a pioneer of relational databases and transaction processing for the IT industry, he had recently started working with scientists to demonstrate the value of database technologies on their large datasets and to use them to ‘stress test’ Microsoft’s SQL Server product. With astronomer Alex Szalay from Johns Hopkins University, Jim and some of Alex’s students built one of the first Web Services for scientific data. The data was from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) – which is something like the astronomical equivalent of the human genome project...  The public availability of such a large amount of astronomy led to one of the first really successful ‘citizen science’ projects. GalaxyZoo,  asked the general public for help in classifying a million galaxy images from the SDSS. More than 50 million classifications were received by the project during its first year, and more than 150,000 people participated. Jim’s SkyServer and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey pioneered not only open data and a new paradigm for publication but also a crowd-sourcing framework for genuine citizen science... Jim’s work with NCBI was to help them develop a ‘portable’ version of the repository software, pPMC, that could be deployed at sites in other countries. In the UK, the Wellcome Trust, a major funder of biomedical research, had adopted a similar open access policy to the NIH. With assistance from NCBI, Wellcome collaborated with the British Library and JISC to deploy the portable version of PubMed Central archive software. The UKPubMed Central repository was established in 2007. Just last year, this was enlarged and re-branded as EuropePubMed Central since this service is now also supported by funding agencies in Italy and Austria and by the European Research Council. PMC Canada was launched in 2009.  NCBI were also responsible for developing two, XML-based, Document Type Definitions or DTDs ...  These DTDs have now been adopted by NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, and form the basis for NISO’s Journal Article Tag Suite or JATS.

As is now well-known, Jim Gray was lost at sea at the end of January 2007. A few weeks before this tragic event, Jim had given a talk to the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. With Gordon Bell’s encouragement, I and two colleagues edited a collection of articles about Jim’s vision of a ‘Fourth Paradigm’ of data-intensive scientific research. The collection also included a write-up of Jim’s last talk in which he talked about not one, but two revolutions in research. The first revolution was the Fourth Paradigm; the second was about what he called 'The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communication’. In this section, Jim talked about the pioneering efforts towards open access for NIH funded life sciences research with NCBI’s full-text repository PubMed Central. But he believed that the Internet could do much more than just make available the full text of research papers..."



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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » abernard102@gmail.com


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Date tagged:

01/20/2013, 08:44

Date published:

01/20/2013, 03:44