Deepak’s post on using the web to harness scientific information struck a chord and also directed me to the August edition of CTWatch Quarterly; the CT stands for Cyberinfrastructure Technology. It contains an excellent set of articles under the heading “The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications & Cyberinfrastructure” by authors including Timo Hannay from NPG and Philip Bourne of UCSD and PLoS.
Infrastructure never gets adequately funded because it cuts across disciplinary boundaries, it doesn’t benefit particular groups. Infrastructure is a prerequisite to great leaps forward and is thus never captured within disciplinary funding, or normal governmental operations. We need to revise radically our conception of cyberinfrastructure. It isn’t just a set of tubes through which bytes flow, it is a set of structures that network different areas of knowledge…and that is software and social engineering, not fiber optic cable. The superhighways of the biological information age should not be understood as simply physical data roads, long ropes of fiber and glass. They need to be structures of knowledge. The Eisenhower Freeways of Biological Knowledge are yet to be built. But that doesn’t mean the task isn’t worth starting.
There’s a PDF (7.6 MB) available too.