Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists' Strategic Reading Of Research Enhanced By Digital Tools

Date:
August 19, 2009
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
The revolution in scientific publishing that has been promised since the 1980s is finally about to take place, according to two University of Illinois experts in information science. As techniques originally designed to organize and share scientific data are integrated into scientific publishing, scientists' long-standing practice of reading "strategically" will be dramatically enhanced, they say.

Allen H. Renear and Carole L. Palmer, professors of library and information science at Illinois, say that as techniques originally designed to organize and share scientific data are integrated into scientific publishing, scientists' long-standing practice of reading "strategically" will be dramatically enhanced.
Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

The revolution in scientific publishing that has been promised since the 1980s is finally about to take place, according to two University of Illinois experts in information science.

Related Articles


Allen H. Renear and Carole L. Palmer, professors of library and information science at Illinois, say that as techniques originally designed to organize and share scientific data are integrated into scientific publishing, scientists’ long-standing practice of reading “strategically” will be dramatically enhanced.

“Although it’s natural to think that scientists search online to find individual articles to read, that isn’t usually what’s going on,” Renear said. “Researchers actually try to avoid reading as much as possible, relying instead on indexing, citations and peer recommendations as indicators of scientific relevance.”

“Scientists skim journal articles to discover valuable information. They scan for terminology, segments, diagrams and summaries of particular interest. But they don’t read individual articles left-to-right, top-to-bottom.”

As the quantity of information that must be covered grows rapidly, Renear says efficient strategic reading becomes increasingly critical in scientific work.

In today’s electronic environment, powerful new tools are emerging that support strategic reading, allowing scientists to work with large numbers of articles simultaneously without having to read them in their entirety.

These tools are possible thanks to ontologies, which the authors describe as “structured terminologies for representing scientific data.”

Originally designed to support the sharing and analysis of data, ontologies can provide information such as unambiguous identification of terms and relationships, and implicit background knowledge, the researchers say.

Scientists using these tools will be “speaking a language that can also be understood by computers, so computers can assist them as they make their way through text,” Renear said.

The change in reading practices among scientists will also shape the future of scientific publishing.

“The way most journal articles are currently re-produced in electronic form is still as more or less non-functional versions of printed pages – basically, just a piece of paper lying dead on the screen,” Renear said.

Instead of the electronic version simply imitating the print version of the article, integrating ontologies into the online versions of scientific literature will create many possibilities, including allowing text, diagrams and data in documents to be connected to databases of contemporary scientific knowledge.

The networked journal article will become a rich interactive representation of current scientific knowledge, available for automatic computer processing and optimized for the rapid and high-volume strategic reading scientists actually practice, Renear said.

Although automated information extraction and text mining of scientific literature, which are also supported by ontologies, will be increasingly important techniques for dealing with the information explosion, Palmer says they won’t replace reading altogether.

“Narrative text will not disappear; the context it provides is too important,” she said. “There will still be authors, and there will still be readers.”

But within the sciences, the researchers say, reading will continue to be more and more strategic, and with the emergence of new reading tools, strategic reading will be more and more effective.

“Scientists want to read more, faster,” Palmer said. “They want to read, relate and annotate research articles, strategically. Search and retrieval functions are important, as are automated information extraction and text mining. But tools for reading help scientists with the vital, everyday work of understanding and using the literature.”

Renear and Palmer’s findings were published in an article titled “Strategic Reading, Ontologies, and the Future of Scientific Publishing” in the Aug. 13 issue of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Scientists' Strategic Reading Of Research Enhanced By Digital Tools." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818182058.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009, August 19). Scientists' Strategic Reading Of Research Enhanced By Digital Tools. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818182058.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Scientists' Strategic Reading Of Research Enhanced By Digital Tools." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818182058.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Nintendo released new "Super Smash Bros." Friday, and it's getting great reviews. Could this mean a comeback for the gaming company? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins