in principle with industry standards
that design deserves the most attention
and planning the least. The overall dis-crepancies between these two sources
also raise another interesting point: If,
in the aggregate, Communications
reflects what is happening in computing,
then perhaps existing industry standards should be refined to more closely
approximate real-world practice.
From 2000 to 2010, Communications
featured special sections that included
a number of articles on a specific topic.
But did these sections engender long-term interest in the topic being addressed or was the effect more fleeting?
To answer, we selected three topics
that were the focus of special sections:
6 digital rights management,
8 Our only criterion
in selecting them was that they were
published closer to 2000 than to 2010,
making it easier to identify long-term
effects (see Figure 4).
The figure shows special sections
generated a spike of interest in the
topic during the calendar year the sec-
tion was published. This interest was
sustained for a short time before de-
clining rapidly, eventually returning to
a near-zero steady state. Although they
can be expected to increase the visibil-
ity of a topic in the short-term, special
sections did not seem to engender
lasting interest in the topics they ad-
dressed, at least in Communications.
Whether this observation holds for
other journals is an interesting empir-
ical question but cannot be answered
within the scope of this article.
If the articles published in Communi-
cations truly reflect the state of the art
in computing, then a Communications
n-gram analysis focused on specific
technologies should help reveal dif-
ferences between the technological
preferences of computing profession-
als and those of the general public.
To this end, we compared Communi-
cations n-gram frequencies for differ-
ent Web browsers, operating systems,
and search engines in 2010 against the
market shares of the same products
among the general public during the
15 The results, which speak
to the comparative popularity of dif-
ferent technologies among computing
professionals and the general public,
are outlined in Figure 5.
figure 4. effect of special sections on long-term topic interest.
digital rights Management
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
technology Life Cycles
Finally, we wondered whether
Communications’ interest in a particular
technology proxies the location of the
technology along its product life cycle.
To answer, we conducted an n-gram
analysis of three mass-market commercial Apple products—iPod, iPhone,
and iPad—that were arguably at different points in their respective life cycles
(see Figure 6).
As shown in the figure, the frequency a particular product appeared in
Communications spoke to the location
of the technology along its own unique
trajectory. For example, interest in the
iPod in Communications grew sharply
from 2004 to 2005, corresponding to a
500% increase in sales during that pe-
figure 5. technology preferences compared.
Web Browser Popularity 2010
Operating System Popularity 2010
Search Engine Popularity 2010
Firefox Chrome Safari
Google Yahoo Bing Baidu Other