The Long Tail is a vital concept for understanding attention dynamics in the digital age; it will be as vital for scholarship as it is already becoming for online business. The specialty knowledge of scholarship is ideally suited to the power curve distribution of the Long Tail, as I will explain, but unfortunately, academia's entrenched communication system isolates and slows the ready circulation of information so fundamental to Long Tail dynamics. This must change; scholarship must be retooled for the Long Tail of knowledge.
This is my ninth post in a series on how scholarly communications must transform. In my prior post, on why scholarly communications must be scalable, I stated that scholarship, like all information systems today, should be dynamically scalable, ready to answer both high and low demand. The Long Tail provides a context for understanding why playing to this dynamic is so critical.