Does the Web make it easier to do quality research? Or does it increase the likelihood that good ideas may be ignored and lost? This article offers an overview of opinions on the issue.
Some databases present search results ranked by popularity or by date, with articles that have been read the most, or most recently published, at the top of the list. Some scholars feel that there are benefits to this sort of sharing of common knowledge and reference points, that convergence facilitates communication and progress.
Other researchers feel that this tendency “makes academic research a popularity contest,” as one said. “When people become more aware of each other’s choices, they factor those choices into their own activities,” said another.