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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

2.2.6 Discussion

Kaufer and Carley are looking at the big picture and providing a detailed analysis of print as a communication technology.

The strength of Kaufer and Carley's work with respect to the research questions in this thesis is precisely that it is focused on print and not tied to a particular new communications technology. This means that it does not date (as would be the case had they considered, say Gopher instead of print), and that its theoretical points are cast in the context of communication in general or print in particular. As I am discussing scholarly communication technologies that move beyond print (but are inevitably viewed in comparison to it) this is entirely appropriate.

One weakness of their work is that it is very difficult to operationalise. With the exception of a citation study discussed in [Kaufer&Carley1993], their work relies almost entirely on strongly mathematical computer-assisted simulation and modelling. Another weakness is that it also lacks specific predictive power when considering change within the ecology: either the likely success or failure of particular developments or the process whereby such change takes place.

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