The Decentralized Web: A Gutenberg Threshold!

A call for contributions!

Image credit: NASA, ESA and the HST Frontier Fields team (STScI), Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt, 2013. 
NB: A tip to McLuhan’s notion of ‘knowledge galaxies’ (McLuhan, 1962), and J.C.R. Licklider and his memos on ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’. (Licklider, 1963)

#decentralizedweb – A Generation R Open Science theme running from late August to early October 2018

Intro: A Gutenberg threshold!

The frame of Gutenberg and the spread of book technology with the accompanying acceleration in learning, as an example of earlier information revolutions, has been a long-standing comparison for the growth of the Internet. For example in the book From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg by John Naughton. (Naughton, 2015)

What is of value in the comparison of the creation of the system of ‘movable type’ and systems of the ‘decentralized web’ is the similarity in needing the convergence of many existing technologies to create a new technological pathway for knowledge, such as the book, or the decentralized web. It is then the far reaching impact of these new pathways which in turn create new: knowledge systems, institutions, industries, knowledge regimes, and knowledge galaxies (McLuhan, 1962), etc.

  • With ‘movable type’ the technologies were, as examples: metallurgy, paper, the press, and type matrix, etc.
  • Similarly with the ‘decentralized web’ it is a convergence of technology and also accompanying developments that make it a game changer in opening up a new pathway for knowledge. Example technologies are: the Merkle tree, cryptoIDs, content addressable, LOD, ontologies, DevOps, continuous integration, etc.
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Software Citation

Running June-Aug ’18 

Margaret Hamilton standing next to the navigation software that she and her MIT team produced for the Apollo Project. 1 Jan 1969, Draper Laboratory; restored by Adam Cuerden, public domain, source Wikimedia Commons

Get in touch if you have a contribution or question. Contact Simon Worthington, Editor, | DM @Gen_R_ | Chat on Gitter

About research software citation

The submission of software as a research output is becoming more common. As a result a number of areas need addressing in research workflows and in the research life cycle of a software project to improve the use of research software.

Two areas for such improvement in the theme of ‘software citation’ in terms of Generation R’s editorial remit of taking ‘a needs based approach to researchers’ are:

  • the use of software and 
  • the development of software.

The benefits can be,

  • that scientific knowledge systems and experiments using research software can be more reliably replicated and built upon more easily, and
  • in the area of software development itself — of making software — can be helped, and increased discovery and reuse.
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