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

Pikas, Christina K. Christina.Pikas at jhuapl.edu
Mon Sep 21 12:54:12 EDT 2015

Hm. Google Scholar has found scientists are citing *older* documents (http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0275) and "growing impact of non-elite journals" (http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0275), possibly because more archives are available online due to extensive scanning efforts. This is research done (written up) in 2014. There has been a lot of scanning since 2008.

-----Original Message-----
From: SIGMETRICS [mailto:sigmetrics-bounces at asis.org] On Behalf Of Nicholas Collin Paul de Gloucester
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2015 12:40 PM
To: sigmetrics at mail.asis.org
Subject: [Sigmetrics] So-called scientists too lazy to perform background reading in libraries

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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