Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Letter to Google

I sent the following to ''. If you agree, you might send them an email yourself.

Since Google has changed the world in so many good ways, I thought you might be open to suggestions for new projects.

The traditional method of academic publishing is way too expensive and way too slow. Worst of all it's exclusive, presenting high cost barriers to those who want to access the information (I should know--one of my jobs is to administer a college library). The fact that much research is produced by public funds but then sequestered by for-profit publishing houses, is not just inefficient--it's an insult to the general population.

My suggestion: follow the lead of pre-print sites (see for example), many of which exist for specific disciplines. Create a software framework that can encompass that idea the same way that a 'blog' is now pretty much universally recognized. I imagine that components would include cool ways to post feedback, cross-reference, and provide permanent links to research papers. If one has to log into the system, you could even create cool ratings of papers if you wanted, by measuring not just the number of hits on a page, but how important those eyeballs are by examining how that person's profile corresponds to everyone else's (the kind of thing Google excels at).

A standard, reliable implementation with a central index has the potential to revolutionize research by making it truly a democratic marketplace of ideas.

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