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The Internet Revolution in the Sciences and Humanities$
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Alan G. Gross and Joseph E. Harmon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190465926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190465926.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 June 2021

The Internet Scientific Article

The Internet Scientific Article

Reshaping Verbal and Visual Communication

(p.17) 2 The Internet Scientific Article
The Internet Revolution in the Sciences and Humanities

Alan G. Gross

Joseph E. Harmon

Oxford University Press

Do the changes in the scientific article incident on Internet publication constitute a revolution in representation and communication? John Stewart MacKenzie Owen insists that they do not. In The Scientific Article in the Age of Digitization, he argues that contrary to claims about the impact of digitization on scientific communication, “the journal article as a communicative form for reporting on research and disseminating scientific knowledge does not seem to have been transformed by … [the Internet]: it remains a digital copy of the printed form.” Owen views the current situation as preserving and extending “existing functions and values rather than as an innovation that radically transforms a communicative practice that has evolved over the centuries.” The conclusion Owen draws cannot be faulted. We do not doubt that the articles and journals in his sample are, on average, to quote Stevan Harnad, “mere clones of paper journals, ghosts in another medium.” We do, however, question Owen’s sample of online scientific journals. While he includes such journals as the Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics, Internet Journal of Chemistry, and Journal of Cotton Science (all three now defunct), he excludes the most highly cited scientific journals producing printed and electronic issues, like Nature, Physical Review, Journal of the American Chemical Society, or such highly successful open-access journals as those of the Public Library of Science. It is the latter set that contains the journals we need to scrutinize if we are to discover what innovations, if any, have surfaced and are likely to be widely adopted in the future. These journals have the robust readership, the prestige, the financial resources, and the technical capacity necessary to introduce web-based innovations on a large scale. It is in these that the Internet revolution is now most visible. Still, among all scientific journals today, whether print or electronic, there remains a conservative core at this revolution’s center, a still point in the turning world of knowledge generation and communication.

Keywords:   Citations, Geometric morphometrics, Hypertext, Intratextuality, Master finding system, Mathematical visualization, Reader comments, Scientific Research Publishing, Statistics, reader, Virtual libraries

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