It’s Time Change in Scientific Communication and Dissemination

Publishing Science on the Web by John Wilbanks of the Common Knowledge Blog who participates in the discussion concerning the future of scientific dissemination in the digital age:

. . . science is already a wiki if you look at it a certain way. It’s just a really, really inefficient one – the incremental edits are made in papers instead of wikispace, . . .  And the papers are written in a highly specialized form of text that demonstrates the expertise of the writer in the relevant domain, but can form a language barrier to scientists outside the domain.  . . .  How can we get to enough technical standards so that this kind of science can be harvested, aggregated, and mashed up by people and machines into a higher level of discipline traversal? . . .  But the language barrier among scientists is preserved – indeed, made worse – by the lack of knowledge interoperability at the machine level. It’s the Tower of Babel made digital.

Two really important issues in scientific communication and dissemination that are critical for technological progress and for evidence-based practice.  One is the organization of scientific findings scattered through various journals instead of collaborative consolidated instruments like wikis.  Time is the real information problem today and some form of wiki is the answer.  The second issue is knowledge interoperability.  Precise language is important in scientific communication, but I still get the feeling that current writing styles and vocabularies in many disciplines, when you look at function, have more to do with politics than communication.

Thanks to George Siemens for the point