Organizing a panel on how blogs are changing academic publishing at the Berlin 6 Open Access Conference

2008 March 4
by Cornelius

Wow, I think I’ve never had a post title as long as that one.

As some of you might know, I’m very much engaged in the Open Access movement and involved in several projects related to making scholarly information more accessible. In light of this, I am enthusiastic to announce that I will be organizing a panel with the working title New Forms of Scholarly Communication: Blogs, Wikis and Web 2.0 in Academia at the Berlin 6 Open Access Conference in November. The event is the successor to previous Berlin conferences organized by the Max Planck Society and its partners and will take place here in Düsseldorf.

What exactly is behind the title of the panel? Essentially, I envision a bundle of presentations centered on these interconnected aspects:

  • research publishing beyond e-books and e-journals – what new forms of publishing (if any) has the Net brought us?
  • new ways of dealing with data – how do platforms such as IBM’s Many Eyes and MIT’s SIMILE library affect how we can look at data and, consequently, how we publish?
  • new ways of collaborating – how do new means of communication and collaboration affect us – for example, the use of social bookmarking tools to create shared bibliographies, use of wikis to collaboratively write books etc?
  • new ways of evaluation and discussing – how do approaches such as open peer review affect our view of science and the way in which we evaluate research results?

I am pinging the institutions and individuals listed below, which I believe could contribute greatly to making this an interesting and diverse panel. Please do let me me know (via blog or email to if you are interested in contributing, or if you have suggestions for subtopics or speakers.



Many Eyes



Research into eScience and blogs/wikis/social networks in an academic context

Virtual Knowledge Studio


Lilia Efimova

Eszter Hargittai

New concepts and approaches in publishing/reviewing

Nature Peer-to-Peer

Living Reviews

Note that these are just a few names that popped into my head spontaneously – there are many more.

I also realized this morning that one immensely interesting speaker on the changing forms of information and on how we share it, disseminate it and evaluate its usefulness would be JP Rangaswami. About 1,5 years ago, I read this fascinating post by JP about what he called “livebrarians”. The post, in which he sketched out differences between the Net and physical libraries, ignited a debate about what role information “professionals” (in other words, librarians) can play in a read-write environment where retrieval happens via keyword search and semantic information is annotated automatically or by amateurs. I particularly liked this quote: “my problem is I really think that any damned fool can be a librarian.” I fully agree. JP has also recently posted about Many Eyes, a project that I very much want to integrate into the discussion.

One might think that open access publishing is a very specific issue, relevant only to academics and librarians, while what we generally call Web 2.0 is just a bundle of trendy buzzwords and an opportunity for tech companies to make money, and that the two issues have little to do with each other. But I believe that means not seeing the big picture. Ultimately, open access publishing is about making information accessible to anyone with an interest in a given area of research, because it is assumed that what can be created as a result of the information being free is worth more than what can be earned by selling it. Open access is to research what open source is to software and for that reason it should be every bit as relevant to companies.

1 Comment
2008 May 5

[...] a particularly soft spot when your research is largely about blogging and you are in the process of organizing a panel at an international conference concerned chiefly with personal Web publishing technologies and how [...]


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