"On the last day of this year, outliving the universe by 10 days if the Mayan calendar was correct, the print edition of Newsweek will be no more, making the 80-year-old dentist's waiting-room staple the latest in a long line of victims of changing reader habits, the high cost of print and a Darwinian newsstand.....
Put another way, all of our "likes" and retweets set the country's agenda more than a powerful editor's feature selection could....."
We really see an end of an era of publishing. The dead of the journal.... and it is good, This format worked well in another cultural context. They have been awesome, and some people have really done outstanding work...However, we reached the digital age.
This is also true for scientific publishing. I see it myself, my social networks working awesome to find outstanding science blogs... Crowd sourcing (incl likes and all form of retweeting) are superior to the work any editor can achieve. We have a new speed in publishing. Real time publishing on blogs are on the way to substitute the journal.
The publishing industry is under major change. Some major publications are already dead, many will follow.
What does this mean for science?
The academic scientist lives from a business model based on publication in high impact journals. These publications are the base for a tax payer financed position. As scientist are normally at the cutting edge, they are very conservative in respect to modern publishing formats. The main reason behind this is a rightful fear for the own career. As the business model for the traditional journal do not work any longer, it is time that scientists start a discussion of how to adapt to the new times.
Functional models are existing (eg scientific blogs, real time publications, post publication review, open lab books...) The major question to solve is the social agreement of hoe we wish to continue. How will we measure performance as a foundation for a career?
We really need to discuss this.