[Sigmetrics] So-called scientists too lazy to perform background reading in libraries

Nicholas Collin Paul de Gloucester de_Ghloucester at OpenMailBox.org
Mon Sep 21 12:39:55 EDT 2015

Dear researchers:

>From James A. Evans,
"Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship",
"Science" 321, 395-399 (2008):
"[. . .]
[. . .] The
forced browsing of print archives may have stretched scientists and scholars to anchor findings
deeply into past and present scholarship. Searching online is more efficient and following
hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate
consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon.

[. . .]"

This article reminds me of a webpage for authors of a different
scientific publisher, disclosing that most traffic to its online
versions of scientific articles is via Google (apparently WWW Google
instead of Google Scholar). This webpage advocated winning citations
by phrasing a scientific article to make it easily found by a naïvely
submitted search query to an Internet search engine. Hmm, (real)
investigators discover relevant researches by traversing citation
networks or looking at journals (instead of WWW search engines), and
therefore articles by them win citations (from other real
investigators) by citing relevant researches.

(Admittedly, a possibility which was left unstated by this publisher
on this webpage is that an investigator may already be aware of a
paper and the name or whatever thereof, but might search for it via a
WWW search engine instead of starting from the publisher's website.)

James A. Evans did not explicitly refer in "Science" 321, 395-399
(2008) to incorrect informational cascades (Sushil Bikhchandani, David
Hirshleifer, Ivo Welch, "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and
Cultural Change as Informational Cascades", "Journal of Political
Economy" 100, 992-1026 (1992)) and failed information epidemics (Eric
Ackermann, "Indicators of failed information epidemics in the
scientific journal literature: A publication analysis of Polywater and
Cold Nuclear Fusion", "Scientometrics" 66, 451-466 (2006)), but the
fondness of so-called scientists to not investigate is obviously
related to "Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and
Scholarship". However, reckless so-called investigation already
existed even before WWW search engines, cf. e.g. many allegations on
the SciFraud LISTSERV.

Nicholas Collin Paul de Gloucester

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