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Calling International Rescue: knowledge lost in literature and data landslide!

We live in interesting times. Portents of impending catastrophe pervade the literature, calling us to action in the face of unmanageable volumes of scientific data. But it isn't so much data generation per se, but the systematic burial of the knowledge embodied in those data that poses the problem: there is so much information available that we simply no longer know what we know, and finding what we want is hard - too hard. The knowledge we seek is often fragmentary and disconnected, spread thinly across thousands of databases and millions of articles in thousands of journals. The intellectual energy required to search this array of data-archives, and the time and money this wastes, has led several researchers to challenge the methods by which we traditionally commit newly acquired facts and knowledge to the scientific record. We present some of these initiatives here - a whirlwind tour of recent projects to transform scholarly publishing paradigms, culminating in Utopia and the Semantic Biochemical Journal experiment. With their promises to provide new ways of interacting with the literature, and new and more powerful tools to access and extract the knowledge sequestered within it, we ask what advances they make and what obstacles to progress still exist? We explore these questions, and, as you read on, we invite you to engage in an experiment with us, a real-time test of a new technology to rescue data from the dormant pages of published documents. We ask you, please, to read the instructions carefully. The time has come: you may turn over your papers...

Pubmed ID: 19929850

Authors

  • Attwood TK
  • Kell DB
  • McDermott P
  • Marsh J
  • Pettifer SR
  • Thorne D

Journal

The Biochemical journal

Publication Data

December 15, 2009

Associated Grants

  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: BB/E016065/1
  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: BBE0160651

Mesh Terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • International Cooperation
  • Internet
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Software