I didn’t find so much time to update the blog during the past few months – there are too many attractions out there, and so many interesting things to do. The never ending problem is that there is too much to read and too little time. This is, however, what also other people find, for example genomeweb.com
Pedro Beltrao at the Public Rambling blog says there never seems to be enough time to keep up with all the literature researchers keep churning out. In 2009, 848,865 papers were added to PubMed, he says — that’s something like 1.6 papers per minute. While there’s definitely no scarcity of outlets to publish, is anyone even paying attention?
Or the Latest Everything blog
From a half-forgotten Einstein quote to the complete works of J. S. Bach, everything is instantly available. But what can we really do with it all? A HALF-CENTURY ago Marshall McLuhan wrote: “We are today as far into the electric age as the Elizabethans had advanced into the typographical and mechanical age. And we are experiencing the same confusions and indecisions which they had felt when living simultaneously in two contrasted forms of society and experience.”
who republishes theNew Scientist article (04 April 2011) pp. 1-3 in Surfing the data flood: Continue reading Too much to read too little time
A decade ago Karen Hunter (at that time Senior Vice President of Elsevier) did a brilliant analysis why scientists publish:
For academic scientists, the research paradigm is the experiment and the publication output is a journal article. Academic science researchers publish to establish their claim at a specific time to a specific result. They publish to gain other forms of recognition (such as promotion and tenure) that require publication. They publish in order to have independent certification of the results and to have those certified (refereed) results archived in perpetuity. Finally, they publish to communicate with those who may be interested in their works today …
She continues with another important aspect
… not the circle of cognoscenti (who do not need publication to be informed) but researchers in related fields, researchers in less well-connected institutions and students working their way into the inner ring.
In my opinion, the “claim at a specific time to a specific result” is probably the most relevant motivation for a scientist. Nevertheless having claims on ideas presented in a printed paper seems to be still a habit of the pre 1995 stone age of scientific publishing. Databases will be certainly as reliable in the future as printed paper. I guess that in 50 years the access to current electronic documents will be even better than to any printed paper. Yea, yea.