Yesterday I spent a few minutes writing about an internet outage that occurred on Sunday. Apparently, that outage was caused by some type of internet protocol issue downstream with a base provider of backbone services. What I thought was interesting is that none of the websites impacted really seemed to send any notice to consumers at all. They just posted a few notes on social media and moved along. My email inbox contained nothing about the outage at all. That should probably not surprise me at all, but it does for some reason. I thought maybe some of these companies would provide notice of downtime, but maybe they have learned that regular and swift communication does nothing to help them at the time of incident. Based on that they simply handle the inbound inquiries and move along. I ended up posting via the WordPress application on my Google Pixel 4 XL Android based smartphone. It was pretty easy to pull up the Google Doc and cut and paste the content from yesterday over and post it. At the time, I thought it was interesting that my desktop network was failing and the cellular one was successful. None of that was as interesting as the donut that ended up getting purchased, but that is an entirely different category of adventure.
My notes contain an entry about creating forward looking journal articles trying to capture the trajectory of the field. Instead of writing literature reviews that are retrospective this would be an attempt to take the last 90 days or maybe 180 days of journal articles in a specific field and capture and catalog all of the next steps and future research notes. All of those compiled direction based signals about the future of research could help provide a look at the trajectory of research within the field. That type of effort could be pretty interesting to complete. It might be interesting to do a retrospective study on all the promised future research that did not make publication. It is entirely possible that the author finished it and it might not have been accepted for publication or they submitted it to a different journal. Sometimes trying to track down the trail of publications from a specific author is challenging. We don’t really have a seamless system to search all journal articles at one time. They are like little silos of intellectual capital hiding in different ivory towers. A lot of journals are starting up now that have public facing access to all of their content. Those open journals are for me the future of academic publications. Selfishly for those researchers who do not have university/college powered credentials for logins to the various journals it makes it much easier to keep up.
As an independent researcher I have access to the premier journals in the field of public administration from my paid dues to the American Society for Public Administration. I even pay to have them send me the journals in the mail to make it easier for me to remember to read them based on the physical reminder sitting on my desk. Outside of my public administration based research interests the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning are easier to understand. Most of the researchers in those fields are very eager to share publications and preprints and you can very easily go out and start searching arXiv for electric preprints of articles. It is very easy to start reading and digging through the content. With arXiv you have to carefully watch the references of the papers you are reading to get a sense of where the literature review is being built from and what work the researchers are building upon. Those breadcrumbs provide the intellectual legacy within the academy and you are going to have to do some work to get to the foundational articles. They might not be freely available to read. Sometimes I end up going to the authors websites and reading the content that was instead of trying to get a subscription to read it.