National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Board on Research Data and Information
Policy and Global Affairs
Quick Links


Contact Us
Board on Research Data and Information
Policy and Global Affairs Division
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 334-3049

The Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments:
A National Symposium and Workshop
Washington, DC, March 10-11, 2011

The Symposium is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Please RSVP to Cheryl Levey at

The Symposium will be recorded and the audio files will be available online after the symposium.


Board on Research Data and Information
in collaboration with

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
National Academy of Sciences

[ Statement of Task ] [ Meeting Agenda ] [ Steering Committee Members ]


Digital technologies and networks have enhanced access to and use of scientific data, information, and literature significantly, and also have great promise for accelerating the discovery and the communication of knowledge both within the scientific community and in the broader society. This is particularly the case for scientific data and information that are openly available online. Scientific knowledge discovery in open networked environments, referred to in this project as computer-mediated or computational scientific knowledge discovery, may be defined as a research process that is enabled by different digital computing technologies such as data mining, information retrieval and extraction, artificial intelligence, distributed grid computing, and many other automated methods. Together, these technological capabilities are supporting the emergence of computer-mediated knowledge discovery as a new paradigm in the conduct of research.

A symposium and workshop will be convened in Washington, DC to bring together key stakeholders in this area for intensive and structured discussions in order to obtain a better understanding of the state-of-the-art and future trends in the study of computational scientific knowledge discovery in the open online environment and to develop a range of options for future work in this area. Specifically, the project will be performed pursuant to the following statement of task:

1. Opportunities and Benefits: What are the opportunities over the next 5-10 years associated with the use of computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery across disciplines in the open online environment? What are the potential benefits to science and society of such techniques? 

2. Techniques and Methods for Development and Study of Computer-mediated Scientific Knowledge Discovery: What are the techniques and methods used in government, academia, and industry to study and understand these processes, the validity and reliability of their results, and their impact inside and outside science?

3. Barriers: What are the major scientific, technological, institutional, sociological, and policy barriers to computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery in the open online environment within the scientific community? What needs to be known and studied about each of these barriers to help achieve the opportunities for interdisciplinary science and complex problem solving?

4. Range of Options:  Based on the results obtained in response to items 1-3 above, define a range of options that can be used by the sponsors of the project, as well as other similar organizations, to obtain and promote a better understanding of the computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery processes and mechanisms for openly available data and information online across the scientific domains. The objective of defining these options is to improve the activities of the sponsors (and other similar organizations) and the activities of researchers that they fund externally in this emerging research area.

A one-day symposium with invited expert speakers will be held to address tasks 1-3 above. This will be followed immediately by a one-day workshop to address task 4, based on the discussions of tasks 1-3 at the symposium and on the expertise of the invitees. A steering committee for the project will help to organize the symposium and workshop, and a rapporteur will prepare a summary report from the workshop, which will be published at the conclusion of the project. The workshop report will synthesize the contributions of the experts and is expected to result in an authoritative and high-level review of the most promising and effective research opportunities in this area. Both the slides from the symposium proceedings and the symposium webcast will be posted on the National Academy of Sciences’ website.

We are grateful to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for support of this project under NSF grant number 1042078.