⛏️ ARCHEOLOGISTS ⛏️

Welcome to the site of ARCHEOLOGISTS: Alliance to Realize Collaborative Hypertransparent Extraction & Opening of Literature that was Originally Generally Impossible to Systematically Tag and Synthesize.

We are a network of people committed to facilitate access to scientific findings. Although these findings are facts (and as such, exist in the public domain), they are often only available in scientific articles. This is problematic for two reasons. First, these articles are often not open acces, blocking access to these facts. Second, these articles are in narrative form, which means that these facts (both study results and their provenance in the form of the study’s methods) are not interoperable.

A challenge is that there are many valid and useful ways to classify both study methods and results. Different ontological, epistemological, theoretical, and methodological perspectives favour different and often incompatible approaches to classification and extraction of data from scientific articles. Given the benefits of epistemological and methodological diversity, this means that creating one authoritative database is not the desirable solution, as this would require curation of one or a small number of perspective(s) on classifying study methods and results. This would have nontrivial epistemological consequences.

A solution to this challenge is transparent extraction. For systematic reviews, the entities that are extracted are extracted from the included sources at the hand of extraction instructions. These describe how the extractors determine what exactly to extract: what they look at, how they interpret this information, and in which format they register the entity value. By providing a way to share not only the extracted entities, but also how they were extracted, it becomes possible to exchange machine-readable files with extracted data. This enables us to make the literature machine-readable, step by step, without the need to enforce a singular vision on ontology, epistemology, theory, and methodology.

The ARCHEOLOGISTS use this site to share resources and experiences with this process. To create files with machine-readable extracted entities, we use the {metabefor} R package (Modular, Extensible, Transparent, Accessible, Bootstrapped Extraction For Systematic Reviews; also see the in-progress SysRevving book).

We have a WhatsApp group to share our experiences, as well as channels in the sharing.opens.science MatterMost instance (MatterMost is an open source alternative to Slack or Teams).

WhatsApp is for quick, ephemeral communication, whereas MatterMost is better suited for conversations that are more serious, take place over a longer period, and need e.g. threading or the retention of what’s being said. We’re not sure yet how this will work and how these channels will develop over time and relative to each other, but for now this seems a reasonable approach.

If you would like to join the WhatsApp group and/or MatterMost, you can contact one of the members of the network.

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