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Jevin West

University of Washington, USA

Echo Chambers in Science?

Digitization of the scientific literature has been trans- formative. Researchers now instantaneously access millions of papers—unquestionably a good thing for science. However, this access generally filters through search engines, library portals, and recommender systems. Here, it is less clear whether, and in what ways, these filters are benefiting scientific discovery. How are these technological lenses changing the practice of scientific discovery and information dissemination? Are these tools increasing access to a broader range of the literature and thereby democratizing science? Or are scientists reading a more concentrated set of papers and as a result creating a kind of filter bubble? In this talk, I will provide a set of studies that examine the extent of citation and usage-based concentration across the digital transition and the changing role of journals in article-based search environments.

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