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eForams – old ideas behind and new ideas ahead

Jarosław TYSZKA, Eiichi SETOYAMA, Paweł TOPA, Claudia G. CETEAN, and Michael A. KAMINSKI

2011

Scientific information is stored and spread around the world in several ways, including our mental knowledge shared during the education and research, “classic” paper publications, electronic publications with online books and journals, data-bases, scientific community portals etc. Working on fossils, we should not forget about our empirical data available in situ (outcrops, cores) and stored in various institutional and private collections. This highly fragmented information is valuable only when it is easily accessible, shared, and understandable to the whole community. We experience a flood of scientific publications which are getting more and more specialized and fragmented. Scientific text books used to integrate such knowledge in the past, but they do not fulfil this requirement due to the overwhelming accumulation of data and new publications. We need to discover new ways to integrate existing knowledge and new information on foraminifera to keep them readily accessible. eForams 1.0. In 2006 we created eForams web site to offer easy access to the current basic knowledge on foraminifera (Hottinger et al. 2006). eForams runs on MediaWiki, an open source, server-side software invented for internet encyclopaedias. Although the idea of sharing and spreading knowledge on foraminifera is still attractive, the project itself partly failed in fulfilling our expectations and public demands. The main problems include a limited number of contributors and limited time that could be spent on writing and editing. Scientific work is mostly evaluated based on peer-reviewed publications in best international journals. Our efforts on online sharing of scientific knowledge are valuable for the community, but not appreciated by supporting agencies. On the other hand, we have observed a few positive trends based on the statistics of page entries. The whole website experienced over a 1.5 million of page views in 4 years. The most popular page called “FORAM-Links” (http://www.eforams.org/index.php/FORAM-Links), provides Web links to other websites, societies, upcoming meetings, glossaries, and virtual galleries. This page has been accessed nearly 120 000 times indicating that we really look for up-to-date information on foraminifera. It is a clear hint for the future development of eForams to work as a map linking information from various sources. eForams 2.0. We would like to upgrade this website and propose a more innovative community service focused on sharing knowledge and new information on foraminifera. We want to learn and discuss your current demands and future prospects for this portal to make eForams more profitable for the community. The website is moved to a new domain eforams.org which is independent and non-profitable. We would also like to establish/set up/call for a scientific editorial board responsible to maintain the credibility of the service. The site is so far accredited by the Grzybowski Foundation. We also propose a new structure of the website that includes: eForams-Wiki, new FORAM-Publications, FORAM-Links, FORAM-Meetings, and eForams LABS designed to focus on specific methods. This new structure may assist our scientific activities, such as enquiries on new publications spread in different global and local journals. We want to encourage all foraminiferologists to share their knowledge and to spread valuable information. We would like to invite senior editors responsible for selected aspects of foraminiferal research. We would also like to emphasize that we still want to keep the site non-anonymous, i.e. build by the community of registered scientists. In order to enhance the quality and encourage scientists to post their review articles, we may also plan to extend our service to a new peer-reviewed Open Access electronic journal associated with the eForams site. We are open to new ideas and new contributions.


References

Hottinger L., Tyszka J., Topa P., 2006. Glossary and "eForams": Free rapid access to the current basic knowledge on foraminifera. Forams-2006 Abstract Book. Evolutionary morphometrics of the foraminiferal test in time and space. Anuário do Instituto de Geociências, UFRJ, 29/1: 385-386. http://www.eforams.org/index.php/Introduction_to_eForams

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