Representatives from CNI member organizations gather twice annually to explore new technologies, content, and applications; to further collaboration; to analyze technology policy issues, and to catalyze the development and deployment of new projects. Each member organization may send two representatives. Visit https://www.cni.org/mm/fall-2017 for more information.

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Tuesday, December 12 • 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Closing Plenary: Paul Evan Peters Award & Lecture

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Scholarly Communication: Deconstruct and Decentralize?

During the 1-year sabbatical I just spent at DANS in The Netherlands, I have familiarized myself with the motivations, standards, and technologies associated with the Decentralized Web movement, especially those that leverage the HTTP protocol stack. During this exercise, I have also explored whether and how these novel approaches could be used as a foundation for a global scholarly commons, and what a minimally viable platform could be. I have closely followed, and at times collaborated with, early career researchers that do pioneering work in this realm. My investigations have led me to believe that – technically – decentralized web approaches can be applied to arrive at a researcher-centric and institution-enabled system in which the core functions of scholarly communication (registration, awareness, certification, archiving) can appropriately be fulfilled. The standards required to arrive at an interoperable, distributed, web-native system are largely in place. The tools that illustrate this potential remain experimental and brittle, yet show a glimpse of a possible future. My enthusiasm regarding these technical opportunities is tempered by a healthy portion of realism regarding the mere possibility of initiating profound change in scholarly communication. My reservations are based on the modest progress that has resulted from a plethora of efforts over the past two decades (some of which I was actively involved in), and on the understanding that global collective action on behalf of academia is required to give a scholarly commons effort the momentum it needs to stand a chance of success. In this talk, I will share a snapshot of my evolving thinking about a future that could be, and hopefully inspire CNI representatives to explore complementary avenues, beyond the technical one that remains my focus.



Herbert Van De Sompel

Chief Innovation Officer, DANS

Tuesday December 12, 2017 2:15pm - 3:30pm EST
Blue Room