Todd Harris
Science: Online publishing leading to narrower focus and less diversity? -
i haven't had time to read the article, but the accompanying perspective article indicates that others have been finding the exact opposite result... - mad -
Serendipitous discovery is why online rules, so I am not sure what the hell the person is talking about - Deepak Singh
The author argues exactly that -- serendipitous discovery is on the decline because of targeted searches and following hyperlinks, instead of browsing table of contents. Although one might argue that serendiiptious discovery in a world bursting with information sources probably isn't the most efficient way to procure new knowledge. ;) - Todd Harris from twhirl
Librarians sometimes note the decline of "serendipitous discovery", but I wonder if they're actually mourning the partial passing of paper-and-shelf serendipity. Eva's use of PubMed's Abstract Plus feature seems somewhat serendipitous to me, but there is something to be said for browsing the table of contents. Journals often have a distinct character and attract or select publications which belong together under one cover. I think good research requires both browsing and targeted searching. - Jere
If anyone blogs about it, just drop a link here - Bora Zivkovic
Jere, yes, but it's far easier to browse online than in print. The barrier is just too high with print. I know my diversity of knowledge increased exponentially after I went mostly online. And why should a journal decide what goes together. I trust myself to do a good job of that and mix and match as required. - Deepak Singh
My thoughts on the article (and links to three other blog posts about it) are here: - Martin Fenner
I've only browsed the article and I don't know enough statistics to criticise this but there are two things that appear to me to be missing. One is the possibility that (not necessarily related to journals moving online) science is just moving faster and bigger so citation to older material is less relevant. If I think of my PhD thesis 8 years ago I was routinely citing stuff 15-20 years old. I don't do that in current papers because less of it is relevant. - Cameron Neylon
My other thought was that the other explanation is that we already have improved filtering mechanisms so people are finding the better papers more efficiently. There seems to be an assumption in the paper that more concentration must be dysfunctional - without an analysis of whether it might be an indicator of functional improvement in appraoch - Cameron Neylon
Perhaps with greater accessibility, people have quit citing old papers just because everyone always cites those without even reading them. Those who have the least access, tend to cite very old stuff, textbooks, popsci articles, e.g., - Bora Zivkovic
I've read the paper, but can't make sense of the figures. Can anyone translate? - _alf