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Introductions: Matt Cockerill - BioMed Central

From: Matthew Cockerill <matt@biomedcentral.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 19:36:55 -0000
Message-ID: <CA28D1CFC7C162478793AEBAFF1D53780452CD9F@ms1.lsc.net>
To: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

I'm Matt Cockerill, and have the role of Publisher at BioMed Central, an open access publisher of peer-reviewed research (www.biomedcentral.com)

My background combines a Ph.D. in molecular biology, with a fair bit of technical background (I was previously BioMed Central's Technical Director).

Since my Ph.D. days, I've been fascinated by the possibilities of modelling biological knowledge in a structured way. I was all set to work on biological ontologies at Stanford 10 years ago, but at the last minute got sidetracked into science publishing, which was just starting to make use of the internet at that time.

What's great is that things have come full circle - publishers are now very much in a position to make practical contributions to biological knowledge representation, by adding structure to the research articles which they publish. XML and RDF look like being key enabling technologies for this

There are some notes on BioMed Central's activities in this area in this editorial:

We're working with John Wilbanks and other participants in the Science Commons publishing working group to try and define standards and best practices for semantic markup within  scholarly articles, in a way that will make them into a richer and less ambiguous source of raw material for mining.

One related project: we recently collaborated with Wolfram Research on Publicon:
Publicon is a Mathematica-driven structured authoring tool which can output our XML DTD including islands of MathML .
A key thing about Publicon, is that it *enforces* structure along the way, as you create the document, rather than relying on you as the author making the right choices to create the appropriate structure.

Ideally, we would like to be able to put tools into the hands of authors to make it feasible (and beneficial) for them to describe all the entites, facts and assertions in their article in a computer-readable way. Then ultimately the scientific literature will become a resource that can be meaningfully queried not just with keywords, but with semantic expressions. 

BTW - if you view the source of an BioMed Central article  (e.g. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/6/140 ) you'll see that we already embed RDF (though currently only for the Creative Commons license data, and the bibliographic metadata).

Matthew Cockerill, Ph.D. 
BioMed Central ( http://www.biomedcentral.com/ ) 
34-42, Cleveland Street 
W1T 4LB 
Tel: 020 7631 9127 
Fax: 020 7631 9926
Email: matt@biomedcentral.com 

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Received on Thursday, 1 December 2005 19:37:51 UTC

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