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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Informal Scientific Communication

From Peter Suber:
Christina Pikas, The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Informal Scholarly Scientific Communication: A Literature Review, a paper for a doctoral seminar at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, May 13, 2006.

Abstract: This paper provides a review of the extensive research on the social structure and process of informal scholarly scientific communication and more recent research on the adoption and use of information and communication technologies by scientists for informal scholarly scientific communication. The benefits and uses of the information and communication technologies reported in the literature were examined to determine the influence of the technologies on the prior system. Information and communication technologies have not changed the social structure of science, but have enabled new forms of remote collaboration and slightly higher productivity as measured by number of publications.

I find it interesting that RSS does not show up once in this comprehensive document. Blogging is discussed as a means of summarizing conferences or in the context of popular media.

I still maintain that a greater potential for blogs and other RSS based technologies is the communication of raw experimental data. There is nothing more efficient to connect the sharer and searcher of information. And it sets up a nice framework for enabling non-human agents to start participating.


  • If I may respond...
    I hoped to find articles discussing information sharing in science using RSS and other newer web technologies. There have been a few articles proposing their use, but I was unable to find peer-reviewed articles evaluating them or otherwise reporting studies on them. I think that there is a real gap in the literature there so stay tuned :)

    By Blogger Christina, at 3:05 PM  

  • Christina - thanks for the response. You did a really thorough job summarizing the peer-reviewed literature on informal scientific communication. I didn't realize that people had really looked at it that closely before the internet. A challenge now with monitoring the changes on the science RSS scene is that by the time a traditional peer-reviewed reference comes out it is likely to be outdated. I will definitely be following your blogs on the matter!

    By Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley, at 4:26 PM  

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