Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Semantics of the Semantic Web Journal

I've been looking at the Semantic Web Journal as we've a few bits of Sem Web work we're doing (which I'll discuss in a future blog) which I think is interesting and probably worth publishing (eventually) and I've seen a few interesting articles published there. My friend and colleague Phil Lord has oft talked /battered me into submission about the Semantics of Publishing - a slightly different take than a journal about the Semantic Web - but, nevertheless, relevant.

Phil's work has concentrated on adding value to publications using things like Greycite which gives a nice way of searching webpages for metadata and presenting a way of citing, for example, blog articles. This is extremely useful in a world where a journal publication is really only part of the modern online literature we read and might like to cite.

This is what I was hoping for deep below the surface of each
webpage. Beautiful, icy RDF and maybe a penguin or two.
I had hoped the Semantic Web Journal would take things a step further by providing Semantic Web style metadata behind the pages so I had a bit of trawl using Greycite and cURL to see what I could get back by analysing the HTML or perhaps any RDF through content negotiation. Sadly, I got nothing back other than HTML. In fact, not even any meta keywords were in the head of the HTML, and nothing back from cURL requests for RDF.

So I'm left a little disheartened; not annoyed, but disappointed. I think if you're going to lead the line by publishing articles on the Semantic Web, it would be good practise to add semantics to your Semantic Web journal, probably. I suppose, in return the onus is then us so-called practitioners to also follow the good example set. We've been doing this for a while for EFO but I confess my own website also lacks RDF behind it but I could be convinced to do so if there was a Linked Data framework that would add value to it. Ironically, this journal has some great articles on exactly these areas. The OntoBee paper talks about a service which does a lot of this stuff for ontology class and individuals in RDF and HTML at the same time and it all works rather well, but there are multiple other ways of doing this, and, as Greycite demonstrates, they need not be complex. Just useful.

There is one other thing I should add, which I really like about this journal; an open and transparent review process, posting all peer reviews on the journal website. This is one of my biggest gripes about science as it stands. I think the review process is flawed. I think reviews should be open and transparent for journals, conferences and grants.


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  2. Hello James - I just found your post (a bit late I admit). I'm one of the Editors-in-Chief of the Semantic Web journal. And I actually very much agree with your statement: "I think if you're going to lead the line by publishing articles on the Semantic Web, it would be good practise to add semantics to your Semantic Web journal, probably." However, we had to do things one step at a time - and I have a full-time job as researcher and teacher besides running the journal. First up was establishing the journal. Then we had to integrate the manuscript review system in the journal website, see http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/blog/new-semantic-web-journal-manuscript-review-system . We're now working on exposing metadata and other semantic features, so stay tuned :)

    Pascal Hitzler