Scientists have always read strategically, working with many articles simultaneously to search, filter, compare, arrange, link, annotate, and analyze fragments of content.Now, however, two important trends are interacting to support and intensify the effectiveness of these practices. The first is the wide-scale use by scientists of digital indexing, retrieval, and navigation re- sources (such as PubMed, Web of Science, the ACMDigital Library, NASA’s Astrophysics Data System, CiteSeer, Scopus, and Google Scholar) to exploit large quantities of relevant information without reading individual articles. The second is the emergence within many scientific disciplines of ontologies for representing and linking scientific data. [...] The driving force for change remains the same: the growing quantity and complexity of information in combination with limited time for reading. But in some disciplines, we seem to be past the point where any further specialization of research focus or elaboration of collaborative relationships are effective (4, 5). [...] Scientists have always strived to avoid unnecessary reading.Like all researchers, they use indexing and citations as indicators of relevance, abstracts and literature reviews as surrogates for full papers, and social networks of colleagues and graduate students as personal alerting services. The aim is to move rapidly through the literature to assess and exploit content with as little actual reading as possible.

« Scientists have always read strategically,... »

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