Illuminating Dark Knowledge

How innovation in search engines needs renewing with
open working and open indexes

Image: LA at Night, Wikimedia, 

Without being able to build on top of existing — search tools and indexes — innovation in search engines is being held back and letting down researchers and the public. The Open Access and Open Science movement that have worked hard to make free hundreds of thousands of publications, but at the last mile search engines are failing to effectively deliver on discovery. Public knowledge is hidden in plain sight — a phenomenon called “Dark Knowledge”. This article is a call for open infrastructural ‘ways of working’ to be adopted as ‘the new normal’ to turn this situation around in software and interface development for scholarly search.

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Software Citation Implementation in Astronomy

Image: Jupiter’s southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on the outbound leg of a close flyby of the gas-giant planet, 11:31 p.m. PDT on May 23, 2018. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill. See:

This week’s post is a repost of a summary of a meeting held at the 231st American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, USA, January 2018. The original summary, prepared by Daina Bouquin and Arfon Smith, is on GitHub, and is reproduced here with permission.


Software citation is foundationally important to the future of astronomy. Deep intellectual contributions are being made by people creating software to enable scientific research, and it is essential that software creators are encouraged to create these valuable resources. Efforts to help authors receive proper academic credit will allow them to prioritize writing software valuable for the astronomy community within their current profession or the ability to focus their whole career on it. With these facts in mind, on January 11, 2018 a “splinter meeting” was held at the 231st Meeting of the AAS that focused on implementing the FORCE11 Software Citation Principles (Appendix A) in Astronomy.

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