From R to R2

Fridolin Wild of KMi gave an invited talk in the special track on ‘Science 2.0’ at this years I-KNOW’11, in which he reflects on the change taking place in research practice, participation, and supporting technology.

Fridolin observes, that the cottage industry model of research is outdated (= one location, one institution), but that at the same time its alternatives – far-flung teams in industrial-scale, distributed research projects – are not yet equipped with the support instruments desperately needed.

While Web 2.0 technologies bear the potential to overcome this crisis and bear the potential to even broaden out participation in scholarly communication into civil society, required social-media-based research instruments still fall short in functionality.

“For example”, he predicts, “models of access to research artefacts currently shift from ‘R’ to ‘R^2’: from retrieval of research articles to retrieval and recommendations”, with vendors of research environments investing heavily into recommender systems, not only into search technology.

“We can expect brilliant new research support instruments coming up on the horizon”, he adds, “but still they are far from covering the use cases possible.”

In the subsequent open discussion, challenges for research on research 2.0 are identified and include – amongst others – predictive models for research trend detection, relevance measures fostering creativity rather than topicality, and new instruments for discourse analysis.

Fridolin is a researcher at the Knowledge Media Institute and the general scientific manager of the European Commission funded Network of Excellence STELLARnet. STELLARnet is currently developing a research 2.0 infrastructure for the research area of techology-enhanced learning.

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