Will research journals going web 2.0 really matter?

Cell published their first ‘Article of the Future‘ a couple of weeks ago; arstechnica has a good summary. The format, while new to scientific publishing, utilizes some of the better technologies that have been available on the web for most of the last decade.

It’s great that publishers are making research publications more accessible, especially to those outside the traditional scientific community, but I don’t believe it will impact the day-to-day workflow of most researchers. I, for one, ‘grew up’ with photocopies of papers organized in folders and binders, graduated to printed copies of pdfs (in folders by topic/project), and currently maintain a large DEVONthink database of pdfs, text clipped from articles, notes, etc., as well as assorted paper notebooks. I find RSS access much more useful that a ‘Web 2.0‘ format.

Overall, the broader impact is likely with the publishers as they adopt similar formats to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, although there are other implications. MIT’s Open-Access Policy is worth reading as is the policy for the University of California system.

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