Knowledge Networks

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The blogosphere and the Internet are both examples of complex, self-organizing networks. So too is the world of academic publishing. Some faculty members are prolific article and book writers. Their publications often are hubs, or even superhubs, in the scholarly literature, cited regularly by others. Some scholars might just be nodes, with perhaps only a few citations from others, or isolates, not cited by anyone despite the quality of their work. Together, this aggregate of nodes, hubs, and superhubs forms a knowledge network. Researchers investigating the scholarly body of work on a topic will enter at some point in the network--likely an article or book chapter--and will find other topical resources through reference sections, bibliographies, and database searches. Although there are some generally accepted norms and practices, authors usually are free to cite other sources as they wish. Journal choice often is important. Certain journals get cited more than others, either because of their reputation or their circulation. The hubs and the superhubs play important roles because they are able to reach many and they are able to bring important ideas generated out on the fringes of the network into the mainstream center. The problem is that right now the system is fairly clunky. There aren't easy ways to tell who the hubs and superhubs are, nor are there ways to easily find hidden nuggets of wisdom in the isolates. In this article, the author suggests ways on how to showcase quality, academic work that remains isolated on the web.