More Than 2 Million Scientific Papers Mysteriously Wiped From Web


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study published in 2024 detailed argued that online database mismanagement has led to millions of scientific papers disappearing from the internet.

Researchers analyzed more than 7 million digital publications and found that the industry has failed to keep up with the rate of growth within scientific data output, according to the study published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. “Our entire epistemology of science and research relies on the chain of footnotes,” study author Martin Eve told Nature. “If you can’t verify what someone else has said at some other point, you’re just trusting to blind faith for artifacts that you can no longer read yourself.”

Eve conducted his study using a random selection of up to 1,000 digital object identifiers (DOIs; numbers and symbols used as a unique fingerprint for each study and publication) and found that 28% of the works did not appear in any major digital archive despite the active DOI. “Many people have the blind assumption that if you have a DOI, it’s there forever,” scholarly publishing expert Mikael Laakso told Nature. “But that doesn’t mean that the link will always work.”

This is a huge issue for academic research consistency and veracity. “Everybody thinks of the immediate gains they might get from having a paper out somewhere, but we really should be thinking about the long-term sustainability of the research ecosystem,” Eve noted. “After you’ve been dead for 100 years, are people going to be able to get access to the things you’ve worked on?” (RELATED: Mutant COVID-19 Strain With 100% Kill Rate Developed In China)

While it might not seem like old research is necessary, especially given how rapidly our understanding of almost all subject matter evolves, it really is. Without understanding historic trends in human thinking, research and application, we cannot mitigate the stupid cycles that limit our ability to solve real-world problems.

Eve’s study suggested a few means of archiving data more meaningfully online. But keeping our knowledge exclusively online is extremely dangerous. What if the power goes out globally as a result of some type of freak event, attack or natural disaster? We’d lose everything and have to start from scratch in our scientific understanding of everything … again.