the SciX project

Project no: IST-2001-33127
Project funding: EU funding €1.000.000
Project effort: 200 person months
Project duration: 1.2.2002 - 30.4.2004


The scientific publication process has been so far only marginally affected by the possibilities of the Internet. The reason is a lack of sound business models and pilots to demonstrate the ultimate benefits of free scientific publication. A team of universities, Internet publishers and applied research institutes proposes to demonstrate these benefits and re-engineer parts of the scientific publication process by: (a) building a fully functioning on-line service, where scientific work, including results of EU projects, would be available for free (with content from architecture, engineering and construction - AEC) and where a virtual on-line community of authors and readers would meet. To support a business model where minimal costs are associated into the process it will enhance the technologies for the (b) self organising maintenance and (c) intelligent user interfaces and finally (d) define business models where scientific work would be wrapped by commercial sites that would make the content more appealing to the industrial audience.


The main goal of the project is to demonstrate that the Internet enables new business models for the scientific publishing process that are much more cost and time efficient to the scientific community and the funding agencies, as well the industry. By the end of the project we will create services on the Web that will enable the scientists from the A/E/C community (1) time- and cost-efficient access to their peers' work, (2) create an on-line community of authors and readers and (3) disseminate scientific work to non-scientists, like engineers or architects.

To do so we will first analyse the existing and then (4) propose solid business plans for re-engineering the scientific publishing process taking into account also the legal, social and psychological barriers to change, try make the solution sustainable by (5) semi-automating the management of the service and creating (6) intelligent, adaptable user interfaces, (7) wrap scientific content for the practitioner's use and (8) evaluate solutions, estimate remaining human intervention, monitor the use and impact on the scientific community.

Description of the work:

The work is partly on the conceptual level, partly in the form of development and in the demonstrating and testing of pilot systems.

The tasks of the conceptual part are to study the current scientific publishing process (as-is model) and propose more efficient (to-be) models using formalised process modelling tools. Models will deal both with quality-assured peer reviewed publication and the publication of project reports, theses, conference and working papers. We will (1) collect requirements from the end users of scientific information (from the scientific community and the industry); (2) study the life-cycle economies, (3) investigate the social, psychological and legal barriers to the implementation of the more efficient to-be models; (4) develop a method to benchmark scientific journals; (5) suggest value added business models that can be added on top of free services.

The technological tasks will re-use and augment partners' previous work and the open source third party solutions to (1) implement the repository, (2) build an on-line virtual community infrastructure, (3) fill the archive with a critical mass of research papers, (4) develop technologies for the semi-automatic maintenance of the archive as well as for adaptive, intelligent, user interfaces; (5) create add on services; (6) further develop an existing peer-reviewed journal. The work will be monitored through regular surveys of user requirements and satisfaction.

The project should trigger a political discussion of an EU directive concerning free access to publications which are results of publicly funded research.

Milestones and expected results:

Results: new business models for scientific publishing, up-to-date survey data on alternative publication models (based on at least 300 respondents), demonstration of a repository, with content (4000 papers, 300 registered users) and technologies for managing and using it. Products: production grade software for running the repository, populated and put to use on the Web; made available under open-source, free to download license.

  • Milestone 1 (after 9 months of the project): prestudies, state-of-the art, market watch, as is models, software requirements and architecture of most components is documented. Initial versions of the prototype core and wrapper can be demonstrated.
  • Milestone 2 (after 18 months of the project): the to-be model, and the general study of the business models, comparisons of the economies etc. are completed; final version of the pilot core and wrapper are available, prototype of the advanced features can also be demonstrated. All architectural and some engineering content is available.
  • Milestone 3 (end of project): The advanced features software is finished; pilot populated with data. Synthesis based on earlier studies an on the observation of the users of the pilot systems is made; final report, recommendations etc. are published.

Updated on September 29, 2003
Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for this website is with the authors; the information published does not express the opinions of the Community or of the project partners.