The Society for Finnish Information Specialists together with VTT's Knowledge Solutions and the National Board of Patents and registration of Finland are hosting the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information Annual Conference 2010, for the first time in Helsinki, Finland. Can you briefly talk about the conference highlighting key topics that will be addressed
”From Information to Innovation” has been chosen as the main theme of the conference. The theme sheds light on the significance of information as the enabler and catalyst of scientific, technical and business developments.
The Conference will focus on thought-provoking sub-themes:
• Information as the Lifeblood of Research and Innovation - Finnish Cases
• Intelligent Information Solutions and Services
• Creating the Future – Towards the Global Innovation Economy
The one-and-a-half day conference will approach the sub-theme from various perspectives presented by significant opinion leaders and experts around the world, including:
• Mikko Kosonen, President, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund
• Erkki KM Leppävuori, President and CEO ,VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
• Hee-Yoon Choi, Director General, Knowledge Information Centre, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information
• Jay Katzen, Managing Director, Academic and Government Products, Elsevier Science and Technology Division
• Adam Bly, Founder and CEO, Seed Media Group
• Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President of External Research Division of Microsoft Research
As a part of the conference, an exhibition will be held, in which companies and organizations from the information sector will present their products and services. The exhibition is expected to feature a range of Finnish and international exhibitors.
The 2009 ICSTI Annual Conference was essentially about ‘Data.’ Briefly talk about this year’s theme - From Information to Innovation.
The topic ”From Information to Innovation” is current, as information and its management have a growing significance as accelerators of scientific, technological and commercial progress.
Companies and other organizations face a huge challenge as the amount of information grows exponentially. To stay in the competition, one must efficiently find integral and reliable material in the fragmented information flood. The capacity to manage and benefit from information is the basis for innovation and success.
The conference and exhibition will give impulses and examples of a new mind-set and tools for future success. The participants will
• learn how utilizing information accelerates scientific discovery and innovation
• understand how their organizations can benefit more from existing information and innovative information solutions
• be able to network globally and share views with colleagues, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors
• orient themselves to future innovation competencies and information environment
• be able to experiment hands-on with innovative information tools.
‘Gateway to Scientific Data’ was a major new initiative launched during the 2009 ICSTI Annual Conference. Can you briefly talk about the new initiatives that you plan to launch this year?
With the launch of Multilingual WorldWideScience.org, users can find non-
English content in vast reservoirs of scientific knowledge, including Russian and Chinese, and have results translated into their native language - all in real-time. Opening this access to both non-English content and queries supports WWS.org's goal to accelerate scientific discovery and progress.
Since its launch at the 2007 ICSTI conference, where it searched national databases in 10 countries, WorldWideScience.org has grown to searching databases in over 60 countries, representing 80 percent of the world's population. Still, up until now, real-time technology constraints have limited WWS.org to English-only queries and sources.
Social networking is becoming a mainstream component of scientific research. Many publishers are forming partnerships with technology companies to enhance their products and services. With social networking and collaboration tools being the core focus of these partnerships, what according to you will STM publishing look like in the future?
Most scenarios with regards to the future of scientific publishing seem to point to a development where scientific publishing will go back to its’ roots and resemble more and more what it once was: correspondence between learned members of scientific community. It will be more communication and less publishing. Of course certain conventions will probably not change so much – e.g. controlled peer review –processes, stabile points of reference, certain customary formats of published texts – but the overall tendency will most certainly be towards more flexible ways of communicating results of one’s work.
It is interesting to note though, that at the same time this opening up and proliferation of communication channels is going on, also a contrary trend is taking place: institutes of higher learning depend more and more of direct funding from private sector partners. This is something that’s relatively new in e.g. Finland. There are no precedents and no ready made contexts for these partnerships. It will take some time before a right balance is found between public results – which belong to scientific community at large - and private benefits which belong to private funders of the research work.
In recent years blogs have become a useful supplement to more traditional forms of scientific communication such as journals and conferences? Will these blogs become part of the “scientific record” and be accessible when users search for information? Your comments please.
We personally don’t believe blogs and other social media channels will become part of the “hard core” scientific output. Instead a two-tier development will probably take place. The core activities will consist of more or less measurable and commonly defined units of output – like to today – but besides that there will be a huge “outer ring” of other communication activities. This is only natural: as science is done more and more collectively and in more and more changeable networks, so the results will be discussed more and more in various ad hoc and temporary contexts and channels. We think that this is very fruitful cocktail.
While web technologies offer researchers new ways to find and use information, what according to you is the future of information in research and innovation.
Verified quality Information has never been far from research and innovation processes. It’s their lifeblood. What has changed, though, is the appreciation of quality information in new stages of the innovation process. The focus has appreciably shifted from STM information to analysis of markets, partners and competitors. Information is leveraged at the beginning of the process much more heavily than before. This is only stating the obvious: The cost of making oversight at the beginning of a research project can be enormous an investing in information exploitation results in pertinence, quality and speed of the whole innovation process.
The open data concept is gaining momentum in the scientific community. Open data and open application programming interfaces (APIs) are seen to offer huge opportunities for research and innovation. Your comments please.
Data from publicly funded research should always be open. Basic reason for this is economic: reusing and combining e.g. statistical or geographic information can be good for innovation and business. It creates jobs. There are already a lot of good examples of this. The other reasons are not so straightforward, but open data will certainly make governance more transparent and in that sense it will also promote democracy in societies. What should be kept in mind, though, is that to release the data for public consumption is usually not enough. What is needed in addition are ways to link the data to other datasets and collections. So, one should always talk about linked open data, not open data as such.
Talking about the latest trends in devices, formats and business models, e-book readers are getting more interest now in the academic market. According to you, how can device independence and mobility help e-book growth?
This is no doubt a million dollar question! However, it is difficult to foresee. In Finland the e-book market has not yet got off the ground. On the other hand, Finland is a country, where various mobile technologies have traditionally been adopted eagerly and early.
In Finland Tekes the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, with major Finnish publishing houses have created a financial backing for a research and development project that will focus on e-book readers. In addition to these players, the project will also collaborate with various institutions and other stakeholders like Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the National Library, number of bookstores, software companies and Ministry of Education.
The goal of the project is to create a customer and content centric model to share paid content, like newspapers, magazines and books, on an electronic devise. One of the key themes is ease of use. The project will create a base for the ecosystem of commercial products and services and scalable international business models. The project is part of larger Next Media –research project to which Tekes has granted financing worth 3,8 million €.