The way in which science is organized today has largely missed to use the opportunities of the information revolution, particularly the Web2.0. It will therefore be discussed which parts of scientiﬁc knowledge creation and spreading need to be improved or reinvented, what tools are available, and which ones need to be created to achieve the required changes.
Problems have become apparent in particular in the social and economic sciences, which are facing emerging challenges at an accelerating rate. President Lee C. Bollinger of New York’s prestigious Columbia University described the situation as follows: “The forces aﬀecting societies around the world … are powerful and novel. The spread of global market systems … are … reshaping our world …, raising profound questions. These questions call for the kinds of analyses and understandings that academic institutions are uniquely capable of providing. Too many policy failures are fundamentally failures of knowledge”. This has become particularly apparent during the recent ﬁnancial and economic crisis, which is questioning the validity of mainstream scholarly paradigms. Given the impact that the ﬁnancial crisis has had on economies and societies all over the world—and will have for many more years—it appears necessary to get from a situation of doing the aftermath of crises into a position of being able to anticipate and mitigate them eﬃciently, which also calls for contingency plans and the exploration of alternatives.
Altogether, this requires to close a number of knowledge gaps and to accelerate the rate of knowledge creation, taking into account the wisdom obtained in other research ﬁelds. In other words, it seems appropriate to pursue a multi-disciplinary approach, involving researchers and methods from other disciplines, and to establish new institutional settings which remove or reduce obstacles impeding eﬃcient knowledge creation. While the ﬁrst part of this White Paper will make suggestions on how to modernize and improve the academic publication system, the second part will address the issue of supporting scientiﬁc coordination, communication, and co-creation in large-scale multi-disciplinary projects. Both constitute important elements of what we envision to be an “Innovation Accelerator” or “Knowledge Accelerator”.