Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Moore's Law and Scholarship

I lifted this text from the web site Create Change
In the age of the Internet, the ways you share and use academic research results are changing rapidly, fundamentally, irreversibly. There‚s great potential in change. After all, faster and wider sharing of journal articles, research data, simulations, syntheses, analyses, and other findings fuels the advance of knowledge. It's a two-way street - sharing research benefits you and others. But will the promise of digital scholarship be fully realized? How will yesterday‚s norms adapt to tomorrow's possibilities?
The age of "digital scholarship" is slowly taking shape and the explosion in publishing seems at odds with the nature of research and the scientific method. History tells us that most research and science ultimately proves to be wrong. With the explosion of published research that is then used to justify future claims, aren't we moving forward (rapidly) using ideas as the foundation for new ideas that will ultimately been shown false?

We are learning and dealing with the pros and cons of technology changing and moving forward rapidly - but do we know anything at all about the pros and cons of scholarship accelerating? What happens when scholarship accelerates? For example, the NSF reports the U.S. scientific publication rate in major peer reviewed journals has flattened out (see NSF report). Perhaps so, but who cares about "major peer reviewed journals" any longer? Hasn't much of this "publishing" gone to the Internet?

It doesn't take much looking at YouTube for example to see how much scholarship has moved there. Take a look at this and ask what does it mean that we are doing this type of research so quickly - without reflective pause. Without asking about the Faustian bargan?

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