Needless to say there is much to think about in connection with that thread … questions about the once and future kingdom of knowledge … questions about the ways that highly developed resources of scientific experience, folklore, knowledge, and wisdom are — and might be — maintained and transmitted … whether inside, among, or beyond the camps of specialized disciplines.
Having no acquaintance with blogging myself — outside the occasional comment added to other people's blogs — I stuck to sampling the ebb and flow of discussion, having nothing very salient to add to the mix.
But as the scope of discussion continued to expand, as scopes of discussion often do, the following question and self-reply piqued my interest enough to give it more than a passing thought:
I would like to ask a more general question: why do mathematicians and other abstract researchers need the academic system at all?
It seems to me that with blogs, wikis and other collaborative technologies researchers can “route around” the archaic brick and mortar academic model entirely. The key is finding a way to distribute funds to researchers globally, rather than through university channels. For example I’m looking for some applied research to get involved in as preparation for entering a PhD program, and I see no reason to limit myself to the projects at my current university. The current system is absurdly inflexible and local. Some kind of “Global Research Network” or “Netversity” needs to be established to make better use of the net-centric paradigm, so that researchers can be matched to projects and people with similar interests worldwide.
— Sean Taylor, 09 Nov 2009
(+ my emphasis)
I leave you to your collective and several thoughts on the matter, and will share my own on the morrow …