Michael Clarke over at The Scholarly Kitchen writes an interesting post on the reasons why the institution of scientific publication has not been disrupted yet by new technologies and processes:
When Tim Berners-Lee created the Web in 1991, it was with the aim of better facilitating scientific communication and the dissemination of scientific research. Put another way, the Web was designed to disrupt scientific publishing. It was not designed to disrupt bookstores, telecommunications, matchmaking services, newspapers, pornography, stock trading, music distribution, or a great many other industries.
And yet it has.
The one thing that one could have reasonably predicted in 1991, however, was that scientific communication—and the publishing industry that supports the dissemination of scientific research—would radically change over the next couple decades.
And yet it has not.
Clarke admits that there have been a number of changes and advancements in the dissemination of and collaboration around scientific data and literature. However, he rightly points out that these changes have been largely incremental, not disruptive. For Clarke, the question is ‘why hasn’t scientific publishing been disrupted already?’ Clarke’s bottom line: the incentives held by the scientific community that developed as a result of journal publication do not lend themselves to being disrupted by technological change. Continue reading