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Re: Are Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates Maoist Monstrosities?

Jan Szczepanski commented on some remarks I made in a recent 
interview thus:

> In the late fifties Mao Zedong introduced that Great Leap and 
> now fifty years later we are going to take a giant leap 
> according to Dr Swan.
> In China backyard steel furnances would do the job; in Dr Swans 
> world it's the mandate and local institutional repository that 
> is going to change the world away from big industry and the 
> capitalist society.
> Open Access is inevitable according to Dr Swan, as once 
> Socialism was. Mandate is the key to the Open Access World.

> Instead of Five Year Plans we will have Metrics to see to it 
> that the way forward is the Green Way.
> The commissars overlooking that the Giant Leap will happen is 
> "Pro-Vice- Chancellors" at the universities, the real 
> reprsentatives of the research communities.

I doubt I'm the only one to find the leap from OA mandates to 
Maoism somewhat challenging. According to Dr Szczepanski's 
mandate/Maoism link the new mandatory rule on NIH-funded research 
surely means that the US now has a communist Congress, something 
the Washington Post and New York Times surprisingly failed to 
recognise, thus missing the scoop of the millennium. 
Nevertheless, we can now look forward to the outing of all those 
closet communist rectors and provosts who introduce mandatory OA 
policies. Clearly OA is going to be much more effective than 
McCarthy ever was.

> How will the future be?
> AS: Once the content and the infrastructure are in place we are 
> going to see knowledge take a giant leap. The way to view it is 
> that the last 7-8,000 years or so of human civilisation's 
> struggle for knowledge has taken place on one plane, determined 
> and constrained by what our own brains can absorb, put together 
> and make sense of: now we are about to move to another plane 
> altogether, with the help of machine brains.
>>From profit makers to machine brains, what a future!

It is easier to make the leap from mandates to machine brains 
(semantic computer technologies), though, - the link is that 
mandates produce the open access content on which those machine 
tools can work - and those who are interested in this issue may 
like some of the resources that I found helpful when trying to 
get to grips with both the potential and the technologies of the 
semantic web:

1. A JISC Briefing Paper on text-mining written by the experts at 
the UK's National Centre for Text Mining: 

2. For a nice, relatively recent overview of the semantic web, 
particularly helpful on the issue of ontologies and explaining 
clearly how they are applied in life science research: Shadbolt 
et al - "The Semantic Web Revisited". 

3. John Wilbanks on text mining the neuroscience literature. Try 
this: http://sciencecommons.org/projects/data/, but if you can, 
do go and listen to him in person. John spellbinds a conference 
hall with his energetic and jargon-free explanation of semantic 
tools at work on neuroscience content.

4. Peter Murray-Rust's group's work on mining the chemical 
literature, now well-developed: For example, see "Communication 
and re-use of chemical information in biosciences." 

5. Clark et al's interesting and forward-looking pedagogical 
perspective: Clark K, Parsia B and Hendler J: "Will the semantic 
web change education?". 

To help things along, the Nature Publishing Group has developed 
OTMI, the Open Text-Mining Interface, which enables machines to 
get at the facts in a text-based research article (while 
preventing humans from reading it) for text-mining purposes.

Alma Swan
Key Perspectives Ltd
Truro, UK

P.S. The link to the original interview, for anyone who wants to 
read my ('Maoist') remarks in the context of the whole 
discussion, is: