With the rapid dissemination of medical information, global reach of the internet, and realization that more print journals doesn't mean better print journals, today's researchers use a variety of techniques to connect but most, sadly, have not kept pace with the times.
Yesterday, watching the nightly news, I saw something that caught my eye. It came during a story about yet another shooting in Chicago. The usual folks were interviewed by the media: distraught family members, friends, and eye witnesses to the crime. One of the witnesses seemed intelligent, articulate, and surprisingly insightful and there, below his name on screen, was his Twitter handle.
Imagine how researchers could connect if Twitter accounts were added to their author lines in journal articles or next to their e-mail address in the article's contact information section. Like-minded researchers could instantly connect, follow colleagues with similar interests, or message them questions. Private conversations could continue via direct messaging or e-mail in follow-up. Such a system would easily connect like-minded scholars as well as promote an individual's work. Just as TV stations, news organizations, professional scientific organizations and the entertainment world have embraced the trend, so too should our stodgy academic world.
And why not?
After all, everyone's looking for research funding these days.
Who knows? Good scientific work might just have a chance of receiving funds from the most unlikely of sources thanks to social media.