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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-05062016-113902

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Thesis title
Enhanced Publication Management System: a systemic approach towards modern scientific communication.
Academic discipline
Course of study
tutor Prof.ssa Bernardeschi, Cinzia
tutor Dott. Manghi, Paolo
commissario Prof. Marcelloni, Francesco
  • comunicazione scientifica
  • Open Science
  • scholarly communication
Graduation session start date
The impact of the digital revolution and the mass adoption of ICT affected only partially the scientific communication workflow. Scientists are today acquainted to scientific workflows, electronic data, software, e-science infrastructures for carrying out their daily research activities, but the dissemination of research results still relies on the bare scientific article, which simply shifted from being printed to digital. The scientific article alone, however, cannot support an effective assessment of research results or enable science reproducibility: to achieve this goal all products related to a research activity should be shared and disseminated.
In the last decades, on the wave of Open Science, the scientific community has approached the problem of publishing research products different from the scientific article. One of the solutions is the paradigm of enhanced publications (EPs). EPs are digital objects that aggregate a digital scientific article and the other research products that have been used and produced during the research investigation described by the article and are useful to: (i) better interpret the article, (ii) enable more effective peer re- view, and (iii) facilitate or support reproducibility of science. Theory and practice of EPs is still not advanced and most Enhanced Publication Information Systems (EPISs) are custom implementations serving community specific needs. EPIS designers and developers have little or no technological support oriented to EPs. In fact, they realize EP-oriented software with a “from scratch” approach, addressing the peculiarities of the community to serve.
Approach The aim of this thesis is to propose a systemic approach to the realisation of EPISs inspired by the lessons learned from the database domain. The state of the art of information systems and data models for EPs has been analyzed to identify the common features across different domains. Those common features have served as building blocks for the definition of a data model and functionalities for the representation and manipulation of EPs. The notion of Enhanced Publication Management System (EPMS) is introduced to denote information systems that provide EPIS designers and developers with EP-oriented tools for the setup, operation and maintenance of EPISs. The requirements of EPMSs have been identified and a reference software architecture that satisfies them is presented.
Contributions The main contributions of this thesis relate to the fields of information science and scientific communication. The analysis of the state of the art about EPIS results in a terminology and a classification that can be useful as reference for the com- parison and discussion of such systems. A systemic approach, based on the novel notion of Enhanced Publication Management System (EPMS), is proposed as a more cost effective solution to the realization of EPIS, compared to the current “from scratch” strategy. A reference architecture for EPMSs and a general-purpose data model for EPs are pro- posed with the intent of contributing at building structured foundations of what is today becoming an area of research on its own.