A few weeks ago, Paul Ginsparg, founder of the immensely popular (among physicists) preprint publication archive ArXiv, reflected on the future of scholarly communication (Nature vol. 476, pp. 145-147, 11 August 2011).
He wrote what many of my generation colleagues in the medical faculty consider outlandish, but which is self-evident to everyone who has some experience in online communication — namely that configuring the next generation scholarly communication infrastructure “requires getting into the heads of current undergraduates and graduate students”.
Because, as he noted, the life experience of todays students “is of immediate online availability and global search engines, and they arrive imbued with the social-network mentality of sharing links, photos, videos and status updates”.
In other words, if you’ve been brought up with Facebook, you will expect scholarly communication to work the same way. And to add to Ginsparg’s reflection: you will probably assume that scholarly and public communication can be done on the same platform.