The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Research, Digital Scholarship and Implications for Libraries
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Tony Hey will describe the emergence of a new, ‘fourth paradigm’ for scientific research – involving the acquisition, management and analysis of vast quantities of scientific data. This ‘data deluge’ is already affecting many fields of science most notably fields like biology, astronomy, particle physics, environmental science and oceanography. The term eScience or eResearch is used to describe the development of the tools and technologies to support this more data-intensive, collaborative and often multidisciplinary research. This revolution will not be confined to the physical sciences but will also transform large parts of the humanities and social sciences as more and more of their primary research data is now being born digital.
This new paradigm of data-intensive scientific discovery will have profound implications for how researchers ‘publish’ their results and for scholarly communication in general. Indeed, the skills needed for manipulating, visualizing, managing, and, finally, conserving and archiving scientific data are very different. The details both of what will need to be preserved and how this will be accomplished to create an academically valid record of research for the future are only now beginning to emerge. What is clear, however, is that research libraries have the opportunity to play a leading role in this ongoing revolution in digital scholarship. Institutional repositories for both text and data are certain to play an important role in this new world and specialists in semantics, curation and archiving will need to work with the different research communities to fulfill their needs.
This talk will illustrate the far-reaching changes that this new paradigm will have on scientific discovery and what it mean to you in supporting this advancement of research. Clifford Lynch will discuss the long-term implications of this profound shift. Including, the need to create societal-level provisions to archive the evidence to support future scholarship, particularly in the humanistic, cultural, and social science spheres. There are also some very specific challenges and opportunities in scientific arenas such as medicine and public health, where new balances between personal and public records will need to be negotiated. Libraries are going to need to take leadership both as operational stewards of much of the broad social record and as advocates in the development of new policies and new social consensus about what constitutes the collective intellectual and social record that will support ongoing scholarship.