December's NeSC News features a write-up of a lecture given by Tony Hey in which he talks about the future direction of eResearch:
"Research today is data-intensive, compute-intensive, collaborative and multidisciplinary. Researchers are becoming "extreme information workers", looking for subtle signals in great volumes of data. Technologies are emerging that enable a step change in handling scientific data: visualisation, analysis and processing, and also data management and preservation.
Where we have failed, so far, is in making it as easy to use the technology for handling these challenges as it is to use the web. Some communities, like particle physicists, are quite happy with technically complex middleware, but most are unwilling to work with these sorts of tools.
The new technologies of the social web may be the key to empowering researchers in the new data-centric world. It’s already happening in some communities. [...]
Beyond the lab, academic publishing is on the verge of a revolution. [...]
In the new world of e-Research, everything is connected in the cloud – the web-based applications and data stores out there in the internet. There will increasingly be services and tools in the cloud, accessed through simple interfaces via a web browser. [...]"