The World Wide Web of Science: Reconfiguring Access to Information
Type of work: Communication
Categories:Knowledge Management | Open Access
This paper presents preliminary results from a new study of how the Internet and the Web might reconfigure access to scientific information. The study combines qualitative and quantitative methods – in-depth interviews and webmetric analysis – to explore how the Internet and Web are reinforcing the role of existing sources of information, or tending to either ‘democratize’ or centralize patterns of access conforming to the expectations of a ‘winner-take-all’ process of selection. This paper reports the early findings of two case studies focused on the global issues of (1) climate change and (2) the Internet and society. The preliminary analyses provide some support for all three patterns – reinforcing, democratizing, and ‘winner-take-all’ - but also point to the need for indicators over longer periods of time and the triangulation of methods from webmetric analysis with expert groups and in-depth case studies of issue areas.