57 St Vincent Street is a solid edifice, but it seems quieter these days. It was for many years one of the largest academic bookshops in Scotland: John Smiths, founded in Glasgow in 1751. Its closure and reopening as one of Scotland's largest internet cafes was an easy metaphor for technology within scholarly communication. But the technology changes quickly. Wireless networks mean I don't need internet cafes any more, so visits to Glasgow no longer mean a trip to 57 St Vincent Street. I'm sure that's why it's quieter. Number 57's next makeover will likely come sooner not later. What's next for number 57? What's next for scholarly communication?
This issue of ADS news asks `what's next for researchers?' It explores emerging trends in the world of `E-science' and `E-research'. Some trends are obvious. Science-based research produces and analyses data sets so large that we need refined procedures for access, management and distribution of data. At an organisational level, policy has been piecemeal, but is now converging. Two recent developments at ADS follow these trends. There's an update on the `Big Data' Project and a report on work with the Natural Environment Research Council that will provide access to scientific datasets similar to those created through the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
E-research means we need to think about linking between datasets and between concepts. There's nothing new about referencing, but E-research requires a new language of citation. That's harder than it sounds because it involves heterogenous digital repositories with diverse data in different parts of the world. A new joint project StORe (see page 6), is exploring what archaeologists want from such links. One thing they are bound to want is confidence. Data sets need both technical and intellectual accreditation if the links are to be worthwhile. A second project, led by the Institute for Historical Research and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council is exploring the role and importance of peer review for electronic resources. Such resources are increasingly being used, and created, by students and researchers in the Arts and Humanities. Yet, there is no real equivalent of the peer review process used in print publication to indicate the value and validity of the resource. This research could lead to some profound changes to the way electronic resources are approached in the future.
57 St Vincent Street reminds me that competent architecture makes space for unknowable futures. Change is constant: if our processes and structures are resilient then we will be able to adapt. E-science and E-research will only be durable with E-archives.