Doing Science 4.0. Deconstructing Web 2.0. Lightweight Programming Models

Science 4.0 is a movement resulting from the formation and use of the World Wide Web. Scientists are using the World Wide Web to collaborate and do science in new ways with significant implications. The term Science 4.0 is a special case of the World Wide Web and enhanced by an understanding of Web 2.0. Therefore it is helpful to understand what the Web 2.0 is in order to better understand Science 4.0. The term Web 2.0 was first used at the O’Reilly Media conference and implies a development in the use of the Web. This has been covered in an earlier article in the series (see Appendix).  The Web 2.0 had several characteristics according to this definition including lightweight programming models. In this definition it is argued that lightweight programming models have the following properties

1. Simple to use

2. Easy to remix

3. Support syndication

Twitter and WordPress are two notable platforms that exemplify these principles. Both Twitter and WordPress enable third party developers to produce compatible applications and dramatically increase the range of tools available with these platforms. Both Twitter and WordPress facilitate syndication of content and both have simple intuitive interfaces that support end-users and developers alike. However these platforms are particularly focused on media. For the purposes of Science 4.0 such principles support the process of doing Science whether this be at the stage of data collection or the analysis of the results.

One interesting development with Science 4.0 properties is Wolfram Alpha which is described as an ‘answer engine’. The end user will enter an alphanumerical question into the answer engine and the standard version of Wolfram Alpha will use a combination of inbuilt datasets, analytical processes and knowledge to produce a best-fit answer.

By applying the principles above, we can envisage what an emerging Science 4.0 platform might look like. The Science 4.0 platform would operate on datasets which are a central feature of quantitative science.  We have already seen how large datasets are becoming available (e.g the UK Government datasets) (see Appendix). A successful Science 4.0 platform would be simple to use, would enable syndication of analyses or discussion and would facilitate third-party application development. Researchers would be easily able to compare analytical approaches to the same datasets. The popularity of specific analytical approaches would however depend not only on the validity of the approach but also on other factors including the dialogue that follows. This in turn would be influenced by the applications that emerge to meet these demands.

Qualitative science however does not lend itself as easily to this approach. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis for instance requires the context of the dialogue to be understood and included in the analytical process. The involvement of language makes the analysis a little more complicated although there is little reason not to suppose that a qualitative Science 4.0 platform could emerge.


Doing Science 4.0. Deconstructing Web 2.0. The Importance of Data

Doing Science 4.0. Harnessing Collective Intelligence by Curating the Blogosphere

Doing Science 4.0. Deconstructing Web 2.0. Harnessing Collective Intelligence

Doing Science 4.0. Deconstructing the Web 2.0. The Web as Platform.

Doing Science 4.0. Deconstructing Web 2.0. The End of the Software Cycle

Doing Science 4.0. Part 1. What is Science 4.0?

Doing Science 4.0. Web 2.0

Open MRS

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


  1. Hi Justin,

    Thank you for good posting. I got a lot of ideas about science 2.0 through your post. By the way, science 2.0 seems to be very similar to web 2.0. What is the main difference between science 2.0 and web 2.0? Why is it called science 2.0, not web 2.0? I’m very curious about that. Could you explain it in detail?



    • Hi Subin, Thanks for the comment. There are a number of Web 2.0 and Science 2.0 definitions and this is just my take on it. I’ve used the O’Reilly Media Conference definition of Web 2.0 and then translated it into Science 2.0 by applying the principles to Science. This forms part of a series. Regards Justin


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