This story comes from NewsScan, a couple of days ago:
THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING: THE WEB, OF COURSE
The distinguished computer scientist Ramesh Jain says in his blog that his interview with John Gehl for Ubiquity received widespread attention and demonstrated that the importance of paper publications is becoming less significant compared to appearance of ideas or articles in cyberspace: “None of my articles that appeared in well respected journals got the attention of relevant people so rapidly… I am convinced that this is clearly the direction for ideas propagation and distribution.” And last week’s Ubiquity interview with technology visionary Michael Schrage also received a tremendous response from readers. You’ll find the two interviews at:
I’ve heard this sort of thing before. Articles published online get cited more. Ok, sure, that makes sense. But it makes me wonder, is this a short-term or a long-term phenomenon? Lawrence has 10 years of data, which is fairly longitudinal, but he’s looking at a corpus of documents, not individual documents over time. I mean, it’s going to take at least a year before anything I publish is going to get cited in print, just due to the year-long publication cycle for anything that’s going to cite me. For example, of the two Everett Rogers, for example, is said to be the most-cited scholar in all of the social sciences. And of course some pubs probably never get cited at all, pity the poor scholar.
Of course this entire discussion is kind of silly, since citation counts are merely, for lack of a more polite way of putting it, a bean-counter’s stand-in for the impact of scholarship. ISI’s impact factor is the worst way to measure the impact of scholarship except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Still, the one important question here may be this: What will this decrease in the time it takes a pub to get attention mean for scholarship in the long term? Is rapid burstiness the direction that scholarship is going in?