A leap forward into the semantic web gets award for RSC


14 September 2007

A technological leap achieved by a team at the Royal Society of Chemistry has pushed forward the boundaries of information access, a feat which brings it a national award in London.

The groundbreaking work called RSC Project Prospect is believed to be the first application of the much-sought semantic web in science publishing and clearly shows how its development will transform the discovery and use of information in all areas of the web.

The semantic web has been described as "an evolving extension of the world-wide-web" in which web content can be expressed in natural language and in a form that allows integration of information more easily.

Its origins are in web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the internet as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange.

RSC Project Prospect, created at the Cambridge offices of the Royal Society of Chemistry together with academic partners, drew universal plaudits from users when it was launched this year and has now been named as winner of the 2007 ALPSP/Charlesworth Award for publishing innovation.

In making the award, which recognises a significantly innovative approach to any aspect of scholarly publication, the judges said: "The clear winner of this year's award was RSC Project Prospect from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"This project sees the introduction of semantics into chemical science publishing. RSC Project Prospect journals incorporate standard metadata within the full text of their articles and combine this with an elegant and intuitive on screen manifestation of the advantages of including this metadata.

"As a result, sophisticated and effective searching of the literature is greatly improved and the value gained from reading each article is significantly enhanced. RSC Project Prospect is delightfully simple to use and its benefits to authors and readers are immediately obvious."

The panel considered the originality and innovative qualities of each of the fifteen entries, together with their utility and benefit to their community and long term development prospects.

Ahead of receiving the award at the ALPSP Annual Dinner in London on 13 September, project manager Richard Kidd said:

"RSC Publishing is proud to win the 2007 award, which is great recognition for the work our publishing staff and academic partners have put into the development and evolution of RSC Project Prospect. It demonstrates that the addition and application of standard data and terminology can add real value and increase scientific accessibility within the published literature.

"As a learned society publisher, the RSC is actively exploring the use and application of structured science in published research, to enhance the reader experience." 

Almost one thousand HTML articles have so far been enhanced by RSC Project Prospect.

And the winner is ...

RSC Project Prospect scoops prestigious award for publishing innovation

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