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Dinosaurs and the Web
While in Pittsburgh for SVP, I dropped in at the Carnegie Robotics lab to do
some research for my robotics book. There my host (H. Moravec) showed me how
many fields of science are switching to the Web for publishing their
research. Advantages. Speed, publish the day the paper is finished.
Response, those who have comments on the paper can publish replies the same
day, and a dialog can be set up (a bit like the dialog Ruben and I had going
on RT on this board, only more formal and useful). Cost, very low. Reprints,
don't need them. Reviewer's, unnecessary (in part because of the rapid reply
Moravec was surprised to learn that dinosaur researchers are not
publishing on-line, a fact that a scan of the dinosaur location confirmed. I
explained that we paleontologists are still stuck in the Mesozoic. Also,
there have been problems with illustrations, but this is fast disappearing.
The journal-review system is an artifact of 20th century technology, and it
will be interesting to see if it survives the change over to the next.
Take the paper I am doing on respiratory turbinates. It would be ideal for
the Web site. The situation with RT is changing so fast that the journal
system will probably see the paper obsolete by the time it gets reviewed and
printed. Besides, the paper is really a commentary on earlier work rather
than ground breaking original research, and should be on a fast track reply
and comment system. Too bad it is not yet available to us dino folks.