Friday, December 12, 2008

Publishing beyond the scientific paper realm

I talked with John D yesterday for a bit about publishing, online resources, and the general structure of the scientific literature world, which was interesting since we come from different backgrounds and generations. He emphasized the importance of the different 'levels' of journals, for instance, that Nature Neuroscience papers are generally better than EBR, etc. I think that can be something that gets wrapped in or emerges from an online community (ala Digg, Reddit, etc.).

Well, fresh off my rss of doom (you should have seen the librarians faces when I said, "Yeah, 900 unread items right now. I'll get through that in about 30-45 minutes." Google Brain FTW), is this bit from The Urban Elitist (via Polymeme) on good ole book publishing, which I often forget about. In the wake of the Kindle's success and Google's agreements with universities and now magazines, the author asks how they will remain a viable business.

Books are significantly different from papers in many, many ways, but they share some similar problems. We still have another 30-50 years before a truly paperless society is possible, and current media have a much shorter lifespan that good ole paper and clay tablets (a topic for another day, but I would not be surprised to see a major project get funded for looking into storage devices that last 10's of thousands of years). Books are unidirectional and stylized, while research papers are really made to be discussed. But, books aren't the TV to primary lit's video games because they, too require active participation, and focused attention.

Anyhow, something worth a few minutes of meditating on.

Oh, and SPF is still coming today...

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