This is post #3 of the brainstorming on the future of science 2.0. Previous posts are here and here. Remember this is a creative brainstorming, not a rigorous analysis.

We previously argued that science 2.0 is more than open access: it affects the full research cycle, from literature review, to hypothesis creation, data collection etc. Moreover, there are today available tools and standards for most of these activities.

One of the implications of these emerging ecosystem is the decoupling and unbundling of these services.

Today, services from data repository, to data curation, to paper publication, to access metrics, are all managed by the publisher. Data are published (if ever) alongside the article; metrics are provided in the same website through proprietary system.

This is not an accident, but part of the fundamental business model of publishers. It is telling that one of the justifications for Elsevier to take down articles posted by academics is that:

One key reason is to ensure that the final published version of an article is readily discoverable and citable via the journal itself in order to maximise the usage metrics and credit for our authors, and to protect the quality and integrity of the scientific record. The formal publications on our platforms also give researchers better tools and links, for example to data

Findability, reputation and metrics – as well as access to data – are mentioned as key services provided by publishers. It will not be like this in 2050: there will be different providers by different services, which will interoperate through standards (possibly open standards).

There will be a vertical disintegration of the value chain, new players will enter the market. However, this openness will not last forever. The new players will try to lock-in customers in a similar way, and services will be re-aggregated around new players. For instance, it could be that data-publishers will be the new gatekeepers, which will also provide access to publications and metrics.

UPDATE 30/12/2013: the unbundling should not be seen simply from the perspective of the publishers, but also of the individual scientist. By 2030, it will not normally be the same researchers which creates the datasets, builds the programme and publishes the results. Scientists will reuse and build on the datasets and code (as well as other intermediate information) of other scientists. The gatekeeping role of the researchers will also be reduced , and this could be huge. According to a study, 905 of the data still reside on the researchers own computers.