Re: Newsletter & Call for Papers WebSci'18

I completely agree that we need to move forward and publish our work in a format compliant with web standards and able to include semantic annotations.

If you are interesting in writing HTML-based scholarly articles, please consider the Research Articles in Simplified HTML (RASH) Framework [1],  available at It includes a set of tool for for checking the validity of RASH documents, visualising RASH documents on browsers with different layouts, for converting RASH documents into LaTeX and ODT files into RASH, and for automatically annotate RASH elements with their actual (structural) semantics according to the Document Components Ontology.

Recently, it also introduced two new applications: DOCX2RASH [2], a tool that allows one to convert Microsoft Word documents written by means of basic styles, and RAJE [3], a multiplatform WYSIWYG word processor for creating and modifying RASH documents natively.


# References




On 21 Feb 2018, at 13:41, Alexander Garcia Castro <<>> wrote:

hi all. we have been releasing a semantic version of the pubmed central open access full text subset, see this is the second release and no we will do it twice a year.

Also, in a couple of months we will be releasing the first truly semantic publishing platform for scientific documents. we are making it possible for documents to be born semantics and thus FAIR. this coming work goes beyond biotea ( and also beyond what some publishers are doing (releasing RDF or JSON). Our approach is to have the whole publication work-flow fully semantic. semantics is not enough, so we are also addressing post publication and review in our platform.

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 1:02 PM, Bernadette Hyland <<>> wrote:
Sören, Paul, Ruben, Daniel, Sarven, et al.

Clearly this is one of those issues that many of us involved in Web standards deeply care about. There are good science & technology reasons to move away from submitting scholarly works in a digital cloak of dead-tree technology, despite that few actually print hardcopies any longer. But like so many discussions, it isn’t the technology that is the issue, its recalcitrant human behavior.

The reality is, [the greater] “we" are creatures of familiarity - we have accounts on EasyChair … we have templates… it has been done like this for decades … why rock the boat? Publishers use PDF and have [brittle] workflow systems.

Maybe in 2018, we’re at a tipping point.

In 2012, I gave a talk at the Society of Scholarly Publishers annual conference on making semantics work and the role of linked data.[1] To my surprise (because I was a neophyte in this forum), the conference was sponsored & attended by wall-to-wall scholarly publishers who appeared to be printing money. I noticed they gave away generous swag, presumably because they made a handsome profit margin.[2] Change was in the air. Scholarly publishers knew then (circa 2012), that they needed to update the publishing workflows & deal with the massive volume of content & data.

Perhaps if “we” [Web of data stewards] organized and thoughtfully educated scholarly publishers on the benefits of this new, better, faster, cheaper approach (yes, of course they have heard that pitch before), this time they will listen & act differently. They’ll want to see/hear about reference implementations — They’ll ask, 'What international academic conference had the tools & workflow to consume this future of scholarly publishing concept you’re suggesting we buy into?'

If this makes sense, I suspect that the people on this list are not more than 2-3 degrees of separation away from the business strategists at several of the major scholarly publishers.

At a minimum, the topic of webby Web of science publishing deserves to be a theme/track IMHO. Sarven is right, we need to be the change.

There is of course, the end-user technology stack issue — aka MS Word. While those on this list dream in LaTeX, tens of thousands of scholars who publish … do not. I’ve recently gone over to the dark side for my research —Now I’m a social scientist seeking to bridge the gap between scientists, policy and decision makers. My new universe could use a lot more webby … but that brings up an entirely different set of issues.

For now, let’s keep trying to push the envelope on scholarly communication on the Web arts, the rest will follow as they have done before.


Bernadette Hyland-Wood
PhD candidate, University of Queensland, School of Political Science & International Studies  || Twitter @BernHyland



On Feb 21, 2018, at 3:23 PM, Sören Auer <<>> wrote:

Dear Paul, all,

I fully agree, the aspect of representing scholarly communication in a
more structured and semantic way is absolutely crucial.

Making scholarly communication more webby can help here a lot, because
semantics can be meanwhile easily embedded and integrated in Web documents.

Another angle to the issue is integrating semantic descriptions into
something like an open research knowledge graph. We recently drafted a
position paper [1] about this and are now starting the development of a
first prototype.

Overall, I can only support Sarven and the others, we need to do more to
use the practices we preach. There are certainly still certain obstacles
(e.g. usability), but identifying those helps us to guide further
research and development.




On 21.02.2018 05:13, Paul Tyson wrote:
Apologies for a late and top-posted response. I didn't follow the thread
closely until it got interesting. I respect Sarven's work and appreciate
his tireless advocacy for improved practices of scholarly communication.
But making scholarly documents webby and decentralized is only part of
the solution, and not the most important part.

Scholarly communication, being just a refined way of thinking, is about
getting ideas from the mind of one person into the mind of another. On
the surface that appears to happen by sending a string of words from one
person to another. But what really happens is that the two minds
involved come to a mutual understanding of *terms*, *propositions*,
*evidence*, and *arguments*. That is not to say the minds agree--only
that, in any particular monograph, they understand these components well
enough to pursue rational discussion. In paper and paper-like systems of
communication, the capable reader will parse out the terms,
propositions, evidence, and arguments from the surface string of words
(and the considerate writer will try not to make this too difficult).

Every scholarly article should have a digital manifest that includes:
precise definitions of all significant terms used by the author
(obviously as URIs); machine-readable propositions and arguments the
author wishes to make regarding said terms; evidence, or links to
evidence, that the author wishes to submit for examination (along with
suitable description and provenance statements) to substantiate the
terms, propositions, and arguments. The narrative article should contain
anchors at points relevant to the manifest contents, to allow building a
human-readable, machine-actionable web of commentary, supporting and
contrary evidence, and counter-argument.

That is truly "scientific" publishing on the web.


On Tue, 2018-02-20 at 20:06 -0300, Daniel Schwabe wrote:
Hi Ruben,

On Feb 20, 2018, at 17:09  - 20/02/18, Ruben Verborgh
<<>> wrote:

...I think this explains why they haven't been widely adopted,
even by expert practitioners of the technology itself.

I think the bigger problem here is the valuation that universities
give to print over paper;
I don't think it's a technological issue, as I'll show below.

I contend that the reasons Universities (and other institutions) value
print over paper are basically the same as I outlined before.

Take 1, for example. We have all been trained on how to write
sequentially (as Ted Nelson puts it…). Nobody really knows how to
write hypertext properly; we don’t even know what are the criteria
and parameters to evaluate hypertext as an effective media for
communication (of any kind, not only scholarly!). I claim that to
use the Web in a really webby way one should author “proper”

Maybe, but that does not make the Web a worse candidate for 1. From
what you're saying, I deduce that the Web covers all
functionality that print also covers for 1. So it's mature in that

Well, if you are just replacing “carbon with silicon”, i.e., simply
replacing the support for the documents, I don’t really see much
advantage to changing the current status quo, where this already
happens with the use of PDFs, for example. I was referring to truly
native Web documents.

With regard to hypertext, specifically for research, I think that
“clickable” references in articles are a huge leap forward compared
to looking up numbers in a list. And that's just one thing.

This would be a very simple improvement from the print-based document
model, with a convenient way to consume them if you are doing it on an
internet-connected device. PDFs with embedded clickable links would
suffice. Not enough to justify more “radical” changes.

Regarding 2, in addition to the issue above, there are a whole
slew of new (social) process alternatives enabled by the
technologies, for which again we haven’t yet found a consensus
within the community on how to proceed (e.g., reviewing process,
identity/authentication, provenance, social networking, etc…). I
expect time will show what works, and how.

Well, the reviewing process already happens on the Web, even for
articles that are designed as PDF.
So we got that working.

Absolutely not. The Web in this case functions merely as a
communications medium, supporting current practices/processes. As you
say, this already happens, no need to change anything. But I’m
thinking of (again) truly web-native process, as some proposals
already make (I’m not going to mention specific ones…). I am sure I
don’t have to detail this to you, as you know and practice that

Regarding 3, it’s not clear at all how long will the communication
made via the new technologies will really last… we see already
evidence of link rot, for instance, even for recent content. For
example, can we safely assume that the contents made available
using the new technologies will be available, accessible and
usable 20 years from now? Actually, some may even ask, Is this a
real requirement at all?

Web archiving is working well so far. And one can always print a

Hmm, this sounds to me as an argument to maintain the status quo. In
other words, never mind the technological archiving alternative, use
paper as a backup. Then why not stick to paper?

But then again, many of the PDF articles are not printed anymore
either, so that problem doesn't go away.

Right, one more reason to stick to paper, no?

(BTW, in this context, do watch

Will do, thanks!

So summarizing, even though your 3 requirements seem valid,
I haven't found a reason in there not to publish in a more webby

I suspect we are interpreting “webby” in different ways. I still think
my admittedly feeble argument as to why current technologies are still
preferable, from a community point of view (including all the
stakeholders, not only the researchers themselves…) still stand.
especially given that the supposedly “print” process already takes
places on the Web.

See above - “takes place on the Web” can be understood in many ways;
I’m discounting the case in which the Web is being used as a digital
support for “traditional” ways, for the reasons argued above and


Alexander Garcia

Received on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 14:24:42 UTC