Study Finds There Are Too Many Studies

PALO ALTO, Calif. (CBS Sacramento) — A growing number of scientific studies is making it harder for researchers to keep track of all their content.

Attention decay in science‘, a new paper published by professors from universities in Finland and California, reports that “the attention that can be devoted to individual papers measured by their citation counts, is bound to decay rapidly,” due to the overwhelming number of studies.

The research suggests that the decay is accelerating in recent times signaling that papers are forgotten more quickly. The study focused on scientific research but notes that the same concept can be applied to the internet and popular culture.

“Over the past years, thanks to the Internet, a huge amount of data has allowed a thorough investigation of the dynamics of collective attention to online content, ranging from news stories to videos and memes. Here attention is measured by the number of users’ views, visits, posts, downloads, tweets. It is also noted that the attention decays over time, not only because novelty fades, but also because the human capacity to pay attention to new content is limited,” the study explains.

The conclusion states that due to the exponential growth of these publications scholars “forget” papers more easily now than in the past, sometimes making it harder to isolate the most relevant information.

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