Re: Newsletter & Call for Papers WebSci'18

I really have to agree with Hugh here. I clearly support the ultimate 
goal, but not the means.

I am also surprised to see some of us talking the talk here but not 
walking the walk. We just organized a workshop in which we explicitly 
encouraged HTML over PDF submissions for Linked Data papers, but we did 
not get a single HTML submission.

We also saw that many of the supporting technologies are not there yet 
or that the infrastructure that exists does not yet support non-PDF 

I believe that the scientific community should continue to experiment 
with alternative formats and alternative models of publishing, but this 
does not imply that organizers who need to run a medium or large-scale 
event have to put their events in jeopardy during such a learning phase 
nor do they need constant reminders that some people follow another set 
of believes about academic publishing.

I also have to agree with Hugh that most parts of these discussions are 
not related to semantics. These discussions should be moved to another 
list, one that discusses the theory and practice of scholarly communication.

Again, I agree and support the goal, but I think that these discussions 
are on the wrong mailing list (thereby also not reaching the right 
target audience), are to large degrees not about semantics, and are very 
repetitive in the sense that they essentially boil down to flaming 
people on a public mailing list.


On 02/21/2018 02:25 AM, Hugh Glaser wrote:
> Well, it is nice to see something about the Semantic Web at last, in this thread on the Semantic Web mailing list.
> I may share a lot of Sarven's views, and enjoy reading about them, but I'm sorry to report that I think the original message is doubtful in terms of appropriateness to the list, certainly in the way it was phrased, without any mention of semantics, IIRC.
> And that may influence some of the contributors, in terms of how positively they feel about the discussion.
> Also, I find it all rather repetitive:- a common response to a CFP is for Sarven to post a similar (although usually shorter) message to the one that started this thread, and we have also had a similar longer thread to this one quite a number of times, IIRC.
> In my opinion there is little new in this thread, compared with previous ones.
> I am not sure what a public response of this sort to the CFP achieves (rather than a private message to the CFP poster), other than an attempt to publicly shame, which doesn't seem appropriate on the Semantic Web mailing list.
> Yes, Sarven, you are a valued member of the Semantic Web community, and so we are all interested in what you are doing, and this is the list you should be using to share it (that is genuine - there is no irony or sarcasm intended).
> But, following all your similar previous messages, I find a detailed public dissection of a CFP (including typographic correction) is quite harsh, and isn't quite really mitigated with a blanket "Needless to say, none of this is meant to finger-point at any person or group" at the end.
> If someone has a CFP for a conference (such as WebSci) where the submission procedures do not align with the principles being discussed here, I would rather that they still posted it in the list, rather than possibly avoid doing so, because of the negative response they are likely to receive.
> Otherwise I might not find out about it.
> Other may have well different views, of course :-)
> Best
> Hugh
>> On 21 Feb 2018, at 05:23, 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.
>> Best,
>> Sören
>> [1]
>> 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.
>>> Regards,
>>> --Paul
>>> 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”
>>>>>> hypertexts.
>>>>> 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
>>>>> regard.
>>>> 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
>>>> yourself.
>>>>>> 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
>>>>> webpage.
>>>> 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
>>>>> way,
>>>> 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
>>>> previously.
>>>> Cheers
>>>> D

Krzysztof Janowicz

Geography Department, University of California, Santa Barbara
4830 Ellison Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4060

Semantic Web Journal:

Received on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 18:09:28 UTC