Persistence and accessibility of information via the internet has been one of its major assets. Unfortunately, that’s also its major flaw. When scientific work is modified, retracted, withdrawn, discredited, there is no real way in which the majority of us can be sure of avoiding the old or dated and finding the best and most creditable material.
This article makes the case, with examples, for enduring responsibility by publishers of whatever kind in the governance of the material they put out.
For me, there is also the matter of impact and what that means. Academics seek publication in ‘high impact’ journals but clearly, these are not the ones being read by the public. The ones most people track down are essentially ‘low impact’ but, ironically, probably have more actual effect than the rarefied publications to which we aspire. So what, exactly, is a ‘high impact’ journal? Well, let’s keep that for another time. For now, ensuring the eradication of discredited or just pre-modified material is a fine objective.