Here's a not-very-risky prediction. Within the next decade, papers will be winnowed to something resembling press releases or commentaries. The experiments themselves- the data, methodological details, and statistical algorithms- will inhabit a network of databases. …
A few hurdles to the post-paper world remain, however. Chief among these is the academic rewards system. Hiring and promotion decisions for scientists currently depend on the frequency and stature of traditional publications in a pathologically myopic way (leading to, among other perversities, the division of single studies into unnecessary series of smallest publishable units). Working scientists will have little incentive to contribute to emerging infrastructures until career metrics are reformed to better reflect other kinds of productivity such as data generation and creation of software and other tools.
What Alex is talking about is the ongoing revolution in information distribution that's slowly making its presence known in scientific publication. And he's right on target in identifying this transformation's rate-limiting step: the academic rewards system.
This raises an interesting question: given the inevitable changes ahead for scientific publication, both as a component of science and as a business, how will the academic rewards system adapt?
Here are some past articles that might be useful when thinking about what the future holds and more interestingly, ideas for accelerating its arrival:
- Beginning of the End for ACS Journal Print Editions
- What's Up With Chempedia?
- Cheminformatics and Micropublication in Chemistry
- Web-Centric Science
- Scientific Journal to Require Wikipedia Summary Page of New Research Articles
- Flying Coach
- Quoted in The Scientist: What Finding a Job Has To Do With the Future of Scientific Publication
- What Good is a Scientific Blog?
- Don't Let the Sideshow Distract You: H.R. 6845 and What Comes After
- [A New Beginning or More of the Same?](A New Beginning or More of the Same?)
- If You Want to Change the World, Build the Tool First - Part 1
- If You Want to Change the World, Build the Tool First - Part 2
- The Forward Pass Has Been Legalized: Will You Use It?
- Yale University Libraries Cancel BioMed Central Membership in the Face of Spiraling Costs
- Advice to Job-Seekers from C&E News: Blog Thyself
- Go West, Young Man: Does Open Access Really Matter in the Long Run?
- Scientific Publication and the Seven Deadly Sins
- We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us
- Electric Cars and Open Access