Posted at Open Access News:

Michael J. Hemment, OpenSocial Scholarship, ResearchForward, November 12, 2007. Excerpt:

Google’s recent announcement that it is providing a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites (their OpenSocial initiative), has potentially grand implications for scholars. Using simple JavaScript and HTML, academic Web developers will now be able to create subject-specific research apps that can be shared across multiple social networks.

Here is Google’s You Tube video describing the OpenSocial standard

Imagine if a group of molecular biologists decided to create their own version of MySpace or to simply form a research group or virtual community within an existing social network like Orkut. The purpose of the group would be to connect experts in their field, share ideas, exchange data, create a repository of research papers, etc. OpenSocial would not only allow them to customize apps to meet the needs of their professional community, but also to share these same apps across other social networking sites that support the OpenSocial standard. A common set of APIs means that the potential size of their virtual research community, as well as the resources they share, are no longer limited by the social networking platform they happen to be using.

The real excitement will begin when academic technologists devise ways to seamlessly interconnect these “scholarly social networks” with one another, as well as with key resources like the growing number of open access repositories at major universities. A common development standard marks a very important step in this direction.