I think we’re seeing disruptive change to the scientific publication process.
Strangely its not the rise of open access publication – they have a similar cost model to more traditional publications, it’s just that the cost of publication is moved from the journal publisher to the researcher.
The disruptor is data publication.
- Data by its nature is online
- Data needs to be discoverable
- Data requires good metadata
- The metadata requires things like object id’s and researcher id’s for citation
In other words we move from a world where the relation of the data set to other data sets is obscure to one where it is explicit and also to one where the researcher’s other work and profile information such as grants held becomes explicit.
Information companies try and sell this as reputational enhancement for the host institution via citation rates and researcher hate it, viewing it as another stick to beat them with – not just publication rates but data citation rates as well.
But that’s not why it’s disruptive. The reason why it’s disruptive is that the data is hosted by the host institution, not published in journals. And in building a data publication citation we build a journaless publication mechanism for research papers.
We know the researchers, we know their field of research and their previous citation rates. In other words we have a measure of ‘worth‘. Yes we no longer have peer review, but by allowing comment we have as effective a mechanism for ensuring quality.
And the journal becomes a search engine ….