An upcoming revolution in science? The end of academic journals?

Adam Rogers makes a bold prediction:

Eventually, printed journal articles will be quaint artifacts. Scientific papers will be living documents with data published on Web pages – commented on, linked to, and mirrored by labs doing the same work 6,000 miles away. Every research effort will have thousands of reviewers working in real time. Today’s undergrads have never thought about the world any differently – they’ve never functioned without IM and Wikipedia and arXiv, and they’re going to demand different kinds of review for different kinds of papers. It’s in their nature.

(Source: Wired, September 2006)

I think that the science media of the future will be electronic and read/write. We will annotate, link, cross-reference more than ever before in the coming years. We are in the middle of a paradigm change.

I do not think that publishing houses need to go out of business. I do not think that traditional universities and research laboratories will disappear. However, everything is growing more distributed. Physical location and physical support is becoming irrelevant.

Actually, by 2015, I will not even bother to get up of bed. I will just sit there by my computer all day. Come to think of it, that is precisely what I do right now except that I don’t stay in bed.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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