All about data

In an earlier post (Researchers need data) I referred to Cameron Neylon’s call to build infrastructure and services that could capture the output of any research, i.e the research data.

Add to that, with Google Wave coming out the playing field appears to have changed – to enhance research collaboration, the publishing process and management of research data. Again Cameron does a wonderful job of thinking through the usage scenarios. First is the process of publishing a paper, and the second scenario is the process of adding an interface to the lab record. Very nice read and in many ways it helps me understand the research workflow process at a high level.

So is this the beginning of the end for traditional publishing houses?

I don’t think so but it does mean that publishers need to adapt to this new reality. If they ignore it then they will go the way of the newspapers. The only option is to acknowledge and accept the changing workflow. The changing workflow is, people searching Google for information, people collaborating on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, etc. People soon relying on workflow tools like Wave for additional collaboration and publishing (and i’m sure there will be competing products that will soon arrive).

The option for publishinig houses are to either build their own competing solution OR integrate with existing online tools. My bets are on the former, especially for large publishing houses. Regardless, the question is how much are you going to open up your interface to the rest of the world. What tools are you going to provide your users to be more productive. The traditional model of offering a search engine one top of a repository of documents is not going to cut it. It is really important to understand how your users use the information you have and how they apply it to their workspace.

Recent technology trends will bode well for customers. I have a feeeling this is only the beginning for lots more exciting new things to come.


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