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DIstributed Computing Environments (DICE) Team
We are a group of computer scientists and IT experts from the Department of Computer Science AGH and ACC Cyfronet AGH. We are a curiosity- and research-driven team, specializing in large-scale distributed computing, HPC, Web and Cloud technologies. We develop new methods, tools and environments and we apply these solutions in e-Science, healthcare and industrial domains.

You are here: Home DICE Blog Living publications - are they possible?

Living publications - are they possible?

Posted by Marek Kasztelnik at Mar 20, 2012 11:55 AM |
The lifecycle of modern publications is composed of the following steps: creating an abstract, submitting a full paper and publishing an article on the publisher's webpage where it can be read. This model is arguably sufficient when browsing for new content but what if the reader would like to look deeper and experiment with the method or tools described in the publication?

This problem has been noticed and resolved by Elsevier who provide a Web publishing platform called SciVerse ( In SciVerse everyone can contribute custom extensions (a.k.a gadgets) which are presented to the user along with the article. To begin creating a new extension the user needs to create a free developer account on the Elsevier webpage. This enables development of custom applications, which, following successful review by the Elsevier team, can be made available to every reader. Extensions are based on the Google Gadget API specification ( which supports components based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript  easily embeddable in existing webpages. This API specification is further extended by Elsevier with new JavaScript libraries for interaction with the presented content and searching the Elsevier scientific paper databases. For example, the developer may simply highlight some phrases in the article and connect them (using popups) with dedicated content.

This approach may be used in various ways by the article's author (with imagination being the only limit :)). For example, CiteYouLike have created a widget which allows the reader to add the currently displayed article to a custom library in the portal. One cannot help but think how the authors might use this framework to enrich their own papers: for example, it is possible to develop a gadget which invokes a Web/RESTful service to perform the computation described in the article. Such a solution would facilitate "exploratory article reading" (e.g. "I don't believe what the article author claims until I test it myself").

The members of the DICE team are currently working on a new SciVerse extension (based on Collage authoring system and Experiment Workbench) which, in the near feature, will be made available for all Elsevier readers and hopefully revolutionize the way in which papers are created by authors and explored by readers.

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