Leading article of april 2007. The site of researcher: a new type of scientific publication

The potentialities of Internet site for researchers are analyzed here, continuing to reflect from the experiment on this site opened one year ago. Site and Internet offer (within the limits of their current design) are not only a dematerialized medium and a means to diffuse instantaneously the scientific publications such as they were gradually codified in the framework of the technique and the economy of the printed paper form. Many institutional sites transpose only this form.

Now it is necessary to yield to the facts. A new type of scientific publication is emerging. For the first time indeed, it is possible to write social sciences texts with the length, the form and the contents corresponding to the scientific requirements of the treated subject, without the arbitrary formatting and the restrictions imposed by publishers for economic and commercial reasons. It will become necessary, because it is now economically possible, to provide the detailed proof of the assertions, giving the documents of investigation (written and audio-visual) and the corresponding analyses. New publishing and academic standards will appear, if a sufficient number of researchers adopt the site tool in this spirit. It is clear that the reviews and the publishers will have to redefine their place in the general device of scientific animation and diffusion.

But the site of researcher allows more. The texts, instead to be scattered in many reviews, books and documents, can be replaced in their chronology. The trajectory and the scientific project of the author and his mode of reasoning appear more easily. The researcher can point out the intellectual context and the question in debate that explain his old texts. So many misunderstandings and anachronisms can be avoided. The reader will be able, navigating in the site thanks to the links created by the author, to immediately reach the precise definitions of the used concepts, the demonstrations and the former reasoning that are not necessarily recalled each time.

These potentialities have their counterparts. A site of researcher is exacting for the author. He must logically indicate and justify his evolutions in the page of presentation of his texts, when he din’t it in the texts themselves. It is exacting also for the reader. He must take into account the general approach and the intellectual trajectory of the author, and not only the letter of one article. The scientific debate should be enriched.