I went to the launch party on Wednesday for a joint report by RIN (the Research Information Network) and the British Library called “Patterns of information use and exchange: case studies of researchers in the life sciences“. Sounds riveting , doesn’t it? And actually … it is. One of the speakers waxed lyrical about the “baroque intricacies of information exchange”, and I ended, after looking at  the report, by seeing what he meant .

We are still so young in workflow analysis that looking at the ways that researchers in life sciences, for example, pursue their business on the network contains surprises. Patterns are strongly differentiated by niche and subject, there is great individuality, patterns are really complex etc . But did we expect anything else?  Look in this report at the models for epidemiology of zoonotic diseases and for neuroscience in particular, and see the nodal role of analysis, the mapping elements, definitional processes, and the positioning of evidential data . There is never going to be a universal researcher workflow model, but the eight elegant flow diagrams created from this report by Ann Bruce of the research team should be on the desk of every STM publisher who wishes to move up the value chain from the article publishing world into a safer future. Not that articles are unimportant in these workflows – they just take up less time and value than publishers like to think .

Visiting the British Libray is good too. With the huge BioMedical Research Insitute growing up in its back yard, and its recent announcement of the launch of Datacite, a DOI style identifier system for evidential data, it appears to be keeping its focus on its vital  STM customers. Yet there was not a single commercial publisher (unless you count PLoS!) in the room at the launch of this report. Very sad indeed.  There may be valid reasons for publishers to want to change the Library’s view on a great number of topics, but it has to be reckoned with and will not go away.


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