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Initially the Internet was designed for research purposes—so was the World Wide Web. Yet, society deviated from this intended use and as such many aspects of our daily lives have changed drastically over the past 20 years. The Internet has changed our ways of communicating, watching movies, interacting, shopping, and travelling. Many tools offered by the Internet have become second nature to us.
At first, the net was designed as a plain data transfer network for researchers, yet it has since morphed into a vivid, transforming, living network. The evolution of the Internet came with barely foreseeable cultural changes, affecting core elements of our society, such as collaboration, government, participation, intellectual property, content, and information as a whole.
Novel online research tools pop up constantly and they are slowly but surely finding their way into research culture. A culture that grew after the first scientific revolution some 300 years ago and that has brought humanity quite far is on the verge of its second profound metamorphosis. It is likely that the way that researchers publish, assesses impact, communicate, and collaborate will change more within the next 20 years than it did in the past 200 years.
This book will give researchers, scientists, decision makers, politicians, and stakeholders an overview on the basics, the tools, and the vision behind the current changes we see in the field of knowledge creation. It is meant as a starting point for readers to become an active part in the future of research and to become an informed party during the transition phase. This is pivotal, since research, as a sensitive, complex process with many facets and millions of participants, hierarchies, personal networks, and structures, needs informed participants.
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