Twenty years of Internet Research

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 17 August 2010



Schwartz, D.G. (2010), "Twenty years of Internet Research", Internet Research, Vol. 20 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Twenty years of Internet Research

Article Type: Editorial From: Internet Research, Volume 20, Issue 4

It is indeed an honour to be able to introduce this 20th anniversary special issue of Internet Research. The role of Editor is but one cog in the massively complex and interconnected machine called research. I believe that the highest reward that an Editor can receive for his efforts is seeing the research that he has brought to publication produce a significant impact. Some might measure that impact in terms of article citations. Others might measure that impact in terms of article downloads. It is not often that one can measure the impact of a research publication by simply looking at how the world around us has changed.

Initially the task of selecting the six articles from the 20-year history of Internet Research that would appear in this Special Issue seemed to be a daunting task. Yet it turned out to be surprisingly simple. The six historic articles that you are about to be treated to simply stand out from the crowd. Each has had a significant impact on the development of some aspect the Internet – and some have had a clear and direct impact on the world as we know it.

This issue begins with an article by yours truly, “The Internet in six words or less”, in which I present an analysis of the remaining articles in the issue. This is followed by the selected historic articles in a rather unique format. We have asked one of the authors or affiliated organizations from each of the original articles to present a retrospective and use the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to comment on the research, policy, analysis, design and vision that they had presented some 20 years ago. The result is a fascinating glimpse into the minds of six ground-breaking researchers and six streams of research.

The names of most of the article authors in this special issue will be immediately recognizable to most of you. I am indebted to them for taking the time and making the effort to revisit some of their earlier work and for giving us the benefit of their wisdom – both then, and now.

On anniversaries such as this one is given to looking both backwards and ahead. Yet if the past 20 years are any indication, it would be pure folly to try and predict the 20 to come. Those ideas, inspirations, innovations, are to come from you, dear reader. Perhaps in another ten or 20 years it will be your article that we are revisiting in retrospect. I certainly hope so.

David G. Schwartz

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