Gully Burns's blog

Force11 Retrospective

The first Force11 meeting, held at Daghstuhl on the 28th of October 2011, generated the first glimmers of a community-driven effort to fashion and shape the future of scientific communication and in so doing created the Force 11 Manifesto. This strategic plan highlighted challenges and made recommendations for researchers,  publishers and funders to push forward key pieces of the community's underlying mission. 

Here we ask, "How is that going?" as a form of retrospective account of progress and innovation. However, rather than allow a single author to describe a single view of the progress of the community (placing emphasis here, ignoring things there), we invite all Force11 members to add their own voice to this account and share the most significant developments that you see being made in the field. 

Please join in! Tell us your retrospective view of the last 18 months. What are the factors that are most important and interesting. How are the pitfalls described in the Manifesto showing up in your research and have their been any new methods and solutions that have made a big difference for you. 

How to write a retrospective:

All Force11 members may write their own blog. Simply follow these steps to add your contribution to this book. Over time, we may accumulate a number of different accounts if even a small number join this effort.  

  1. Log into the Force11 site.
  2. Click on the 'Add Child Page' at the bottom right of this entry.
  3.  Write your retrospective but make sure you select 'Force11 Retrospective' as the 'Book' with the Parent Item set to 'Force11 Retrospective' as well.
  4. When you save your writing, it will appear as part of the Retrospective 'book'.

Although it is by no means essential, it may be wise to use the Manifesto's structure within your writing. Thus, you may want to draw people's attention to new publishing models (like PeerJ) or a new form of data packaging, (like Carol Goble's 'Research Objects'). 

Thank you for your participation!

Note: please be careful saving your work. This blog does not autosave, so you should work offline and paste the final document into the online editor (unless you're very very brave).

Gully Burns

FORCE11 Member since November 4, 2011


Gully studied physics as an undergraduate at Imperial College in London, when, half-way through a early-morning Friday lecture on detectors for sub-atomic particles, he had an epiphany that he wanted to study how the brain works. He started a Ph.D. at Oxford, only to find that the theoretical foundations of neuroscience were not the stringent, mathematically-defined coda that was the norm in physics. Subsequently, he began work on building knowledge engineering systems for biological systems, specifically targeting neuroanatomical questions. After completing his D.Phil. in 1997, he came to USC to work in the neuroanatomy laboratory of Professor Larry Swanson, building software solutions such as the NeuroScholar project and NeuARt II neuroanatomical viewer. In 2006, he moved to the Information Sciences Institute in Marina Del Rey to develop systems for Biomedical Knowledge Engineering: finding novel ways of applying cutting-edge AI technology from Computer Science to biomedical data. 

Gully's main goal in his career is really to transform the way we work with scientific knowledge so that scientific discovery becomes commonplace, powerful and easy.  He is active in assisting in the development of the field of 'Discovery Informatics ' as a specific strategic approach for making this happen.