Video Tip of the Week: Force11 and the future of research communications

Recently the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) hosted a webinar about the changing face of research communications. Beyond traditional publication, there are a lot of new methods to do outreach and communication about science–blogs, twitter, videos, social media like Facebook and Google+, MOOCs, software tools, and more. This is for our peers and for the public as well. How can we use these effectively? How can we get support, professional recognition and credit for this kind of work? This is not directly bioinformatics like most of our tips, but access to data sets, software, and strategies around using this information is really a major part of the future of science and is intimately intertwined here.

A group called Force11 has coalesced to drive discussions and strategies around this–as they say in their Manifesto: “to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing”. Force stands for the Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship. And when they came together it was 2011, so it got the 11 designation.

There are a lot of appealing ideas here, and a lot of popular support for ways to break down barriers to information and data sharing. However, there are also institutional barriers (such as grant review or tenure committees who don’t value alternative strategies yet) and it’s hard to see the business model for some of the “information wants to be free” mechanisms. It really feels like an inflection point in history, though, and when it does work itself out it’s going to enable us to go further and go there faster.

So this recording of their webinar will give you more insight into the idea and strategies of Force11. I think the manifesto does a nice job of organizing the issues and the possible directions. Also have a look around their web site, join up, and let’s consider how to enable and value non-traditional communication and outreach strategies.

Quick links:

NCBO webinar:

The group’s site:

Manifesto / white paper:

Follow them on twitter:

Bourne, P.E., Clark, T., Dale, R., De Waard, A., Herman, I., Hovy, E. & Shotton, D. (2012). Improving future research communication and e-scholarship : a summary of findings, Informatik-Spektrum, 35 (1) 62. DOI: 10.1007/s00287-011-0592-1

Bourne, Philip E., Clark, Timothy W., Dale, Robert, de Waard, Anita, Herman, Ivan, Hovy, Eduard H., & David Shotton (2011). Improving The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship Dagstuhl Manifestos, 1 (1), 41-59 : 10.4230/DagMan.1.1.41

Bourne P, Clark T, Dale R, de Waard A, Herman I, Hovy E and Shotton D (eds.), on behalf of the Force11 community (2011).  Force11 White Paper: Improving the Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship. 27 October 2011.  Available from