The world wide web of research and access to knowledge
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This paper examines the shift to online knowledge in research. In recent years there has been a major transformation in how formal and informal science communication is disseminated by electronic means. At the same time, researchers’ practices in accessing knowledge and information have changed, particularly in the use of search engines and digitized resources apart from traditional journals. While we still know little about how this affects the nature of research, particularly in light of disciplinary differences, we reject here the idea that the simple growth of outputs and proliferation of outputs also leads straightforwardly to a richer and more diverse information and knowledge environment. Instead, we argue that gatekeepers such as search engines which shape online visibility, combined with competition for limited attention space at the leading edge of research, leads to a different model of how access to knowledge and information is being shaped.