OA is the beginning, not the end game, science needs rewiring
John Wilbank in his recent blog post Integrate, Annotate, Federate makes some key points which i entirely share and work on. That is, Open Access is only the beginning. The most important work, on rewiring sciences, is about to start happening. And, like Wilbanks suggests, we have to loudly ask for it, work on it. It’s not going to happen “naturally”, we have to make it happen. Citations, as the only way of integrating scientific works, are not any more the only possible method, that has to change. Here’s his description of one of those principles:
Annotation is the second new essential function. The old method of annotation is through either writing a new paper that validates, invalidates, extends, or otherwise affects the assertions made in an old paper. Or if something is really wrong, there might be a letter to the editor or a retraction. In a wiki world, this is fundamentally insane. The paper is a snapshot of years of incremental knowledge progress. We have much better technology to use than dead trees.
Other than publishers providing annotation, Wilbanks suggests we need to move on and: “create an open platform that actually tracks the kind of annotation-relationships that the web enables”. Extending bloggers’ use of trackback, we should extend those protocols to connect articles, wiki pages, database entries … which would make explicit, visible and trackable already existing links. A logical move would be to either implement pingback protocol in major software applications that are key for the other types of material. Or, if required to achieve that, to extend the protocol to support it.