Vice President, Science at Creative Commons
Creative Commons / Science Commons Project
Knowledge is being transformed from something that is primarily conveyed in paper formats into something else: a computable graph in which the knowledge is written in formats that computers can understand and interconnect, based on the same technologies that underlie the Internet and the Web. Paper technology simply contains expressions of ideas, but the very technology of paper makes the “integration” of ideas very difficult, if not impossible.
Graphs allow ideas to “snap” together into larger and larger networks, which can, in turn, allow computers to help us interrogate the knowledge more effectively. There are competing technologies to achieve this, but the idea of “paper” as the core container for knowledge is dying, and technology will be the killer. This transformation is happening first, like the transformation of documents to the Web, in the sciences. The move to a computable graph as a knowledge storage technology holds enormous promise for e-research. But this is “uncommon knowledge” – knowledge has never been dealt with in this manner, and it shows. New systems and infrastructures are needed to deal with this uncommon knowledge and to fulfill the promise of e-research.
This briefing will lay out the experiences gained in the creation of a large, open-source “graph” that integrates primary data sources in the life sciences: technical challenges, legal challenges, and social challenges. It will also explore the infrastructure created in order to achieve this goal, and relay the preliminary experiences resulting from distributing and supporting such a research product.