European Review

Focus: Knowledge Management in Contemporary Europe

Rich Media and Rich Science; Web Squared Cumulativity Conceptualization

Oscar Westlunda1

a1 Department for Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg, Box 710, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. Email:


Scientists work by collecting observable evidence of different phenomena, from which they analyse and construct theoretical explanations. Consequently, science involves systematic efforts to increase human knowledge, a phenomenon that is usually described as ‘cumulativity’. Most scientists would probably agree that (excellent) research should be cumulative, and by this they usually mean that scientists should accommodate and refer to the publications of other scholars. This article suggests that our perception of science would benefit from a broader and more nuanced approach to cumulativity. The article therefore provides a discussion on how contemporary scholars can approach cumulativity by adopting the fundamental ideology of the web 2.0 and web squared concepts. A proposition for an altered approach is posited through web squared cumulativity conceptualization, involving a more open and collaborative approach. The discussion provides a foretaste of contemporary initiatives that suggest the spread of this emerging trend.

(Online publication March 30 2012)