A look back at “The Paper” from the year 2065: “The ‘semantic silos of selfish science’ are becoming a thing of the past, and credit comes from accurately tracking the provenance of ideas, not just counting packets of communication.” More:
Papers survived as long as they did because they had something right: they contained human-sized chunks of knowledge, by humans and for humans. Trying to bundle the infrastructure into the paper was bound to be problematic. The last two decades have seen a welcome return to narratives so that we can communicate all aspects of research between scientist, citizen and policymaker alike.
No longer is it “one size fits all”, and nor do we conflate human narrative, intellectual content and executability. Perhaps the most important outcome of co-evolution has been the emergence of new agreed ways of expressing the design of our science systems — the configurations of tools and resources that constitute the interacting information circuits we use and re-use on an everyday basis.
We still have human-sized chunks of knowledge, represented at the right level for human consumption and reasoning and deeply linked. What was once called “the literature” is an increasingly machine-processable research record. The “semantic silos of selfish science” are becoming a thing of the past, and credit comes from accurately tracking the provenance of ideas, not just counting packets of communication.
Today we more closely achieve the desired symbiosis whereby computers do what they are good at and free humans to most effectively do their piece. We accomplish research at scale in many dimensions, by understanding that research requires a sense-making network of social machines and social objects — with innovation and without reinvention.
That’s written by and for scientists, but the basic point is worth pondering in the context of other fields. Read the whole thing here.