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Research Communication: Looking Back and Looking Forward

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By Barbara Gastel | Jan. 1, 2018  |

Greetings again. I hope you’re doing well.

Here in the United States, it’s winter. One evening last month (December), about 10 centimeters of snow fell where I live. A rare event in this part of Texas!

Now January has arrived. January is named after the ancient god Janus. This god had two faces—one in front and one in back. As we start a new year, January is a time to look back and look forward.

At a workshop in Sri Lanka last month, I looked backward and forward regarding research communication. Here are some changes or trends that I mentioned having seen over the years:

  • Online searching of the literature has become much quicker and easier.
  • Journal publishing has moved from paper-based to electronic.
  • Along with electronic publishing, open access has developed.
  • Unfortunately, the open-access model has facilitated emergence of fraudulent (“predatory”) journals. (But fortunately, there’s guidance on identifying valid journals.)
  • Use of preprint services (through which articles can appear online before journal submission) has become increasingly common.
  • More and better metrics, such as article-level metrics, have become available for assessing impact of scholarly work.
  • Electronic posters, which are projected rather than printed, have arrived.
  • The researcher identification number ORCID has arisen, preventing confusion that can occur when authors list themselves only by name.
  • Non-technical communication of research has been receiving more emphasis, for example through Three Minute Thesis competitions.

As you look back and look forward regarding research communication, do you see other changes or trends? If so, I hope you'll post comments noting them.

Wishing you an excellent 2018—



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