Conclave Theme

Scholarly Communication & Libraries – A Historic Alliance

Since the birth of modern science in the 16th century with the publication of the book “De revolutionibusorbiumcoelestium libri VI” by Copernicus in 1543—a major event in the history of science — every new paradigm in science has engendered new scholarly communication infrastructures. The scientific revolution set in motion by Copernicus and further augmented by Kepler, Galileo, and later Newton and others lead to the emergence of scientific societies which in turn resulted in establishing the ‘scientific journal’ as a critical element of the life cycle of science. Since then, the alliance between libraries, scholarly communication system, and the scientific enterprise has grown steadily and metamorphosed in varied ways.

With the emergence of computational and data-intensive research leading to eScience, which often is referred to as the 4th Paradigm in science, and open access movement leading to open science, this age-old alliance is being reimagined. It needs to be fortified, and diverse ways of collaboration are to be orchestrated. This Conclave on “eScience and digital libraries: building communities for collaboration”, purports to bring together scientists; data/information scientists; IT professionals; library and information professionals; and the information industry to identify opportunities and challenges in building the cyber infrastructure and the communities for collaboration for advancing eScience.


eScience is the convergence of different sets of trends and technologies that have radically transformed the scientific method and the conduct of science. The bedrock of eScience is the infrastructure and processes of data management such as mining, extraction, curation and analysis of humongous quantities of data from distributed systems, along with the ability to share the ideas and results of the analysis to help discover patterns and trends in advancing science. Technologies that buttress eScience include prearranged networks of distributed computing and data archives referred to as grids and the processes including curating and preserving data.

eScience promotes innovation in collaborative, computational or data-intensive research across all disciplines, throughout the research lifecycle [1]. As Jim Gray [2] imagined it, this new fourth paradigm of distributed computing and data deluge is fundamentally transforming the practice of science. eScience has been broadly defined as the “the application of computer technology to the undertaking of modern scientific investigation, including the preparation, experimentation, data collection, results dissemination, and long term storage and accessibility of all materials generated through the scientific process. These may include data modeling and analysis, electronic/digitized laboratory notebooks, raw and fitted data sets, manuscript production and draft versions, pre-prints, and print and electronic publications [3].” As Chris Anderson proclaimed in the title of his article in Wired magazine in 2008 the arrival of eScience as the 4th paradigm may be signaling “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete. [4]”?

Digital Libraries

The NSF/DARPA/NASA Digital Library Initiative popularized digital Libraries—a domain at the intersection of many a discipline, but primarily the computer sciences and the library and information sciences, in 1994. While digital library began as a contentcentric system that organizes and provides access to collection of data and information, today it has evolved as a domain that focuses on developing tools that help stimulate and sustain intellectual activity having no logical, conceptual, physical, temporal, or personal borders or barriers on the information [5].

Since the first publication of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1665, scholarly communication is pivoted on the formal sharing of knowledge—the visible output of the scholarly process through the publication of manuscripts, and the associated review processes around the publication. Digital libraries heralded the era of dynamic spaces for knowledge creation and collaboration. The three prominent digital library conferences—JCDL (ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries), ECDL/TPDL (European Conference on Digital Libraries/International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, and ICADL (International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries) series have had sessions on eScience. eScience and digital libraries share many common elements of information management infrastructure such as distributed data management; data storage, privacy, curation, preservation and access issues; information retrieval, ontologies and data modeling; intellectual property and rights management and others. eScience is becoming increasingly prominent as an area of research and application for the digital library community as both are concerned with the scholarly life cycle. Driven by the nature of scientific scholarship there will be benefits from increased partnership between the two communities [6].

This Conclave encompasses many meanings of the terms ‘eScience” and “digital libraries”, including (but not limited to) new forms of information infrastructures and institutions; data management processes and practices; information systems with digital content in all types and formats; new means of curating and distributing digital scientific data from all sciences—natural to social and humanistic; and theoretical models of data modeling and information media, including document genres and electronic publishing.


  1. IEEE International Conference on eScience.
  2. Stewart Tansley; Kristin Michele Tolle (2009). The Fourth Paradigm: Data- intensive Scientific Discovery. Microsoft Research. ISBN 978-0-9825442-0-4.
  3. Bohle, Shannon. (2013, 12 June). “What is E-science and How Should it be Managed?” Scientific and Medical Libraries. Scilogs. Nature and Spektrum der Wissenschaft. science-and-how-should-it-be-managed/
  4. Chris Anderson
  5. Del Bimbo, A.; Gradmann, S.; Ioannidis, Y. (Eds.) Future Research Directions. 3rd DELOS Brainstorming Workshop Report, Corvara, Italy, July 2004
  6. M.Wright,T. Sumner,R. Moore, and T. Koch “Connecting digital libraries to eScience: the future of scientific scholarship,” Int J Digit Libr (2007) 7:1–4

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