Information Overload and Underload

Bryan Alexander, Kim Barrett, Sioux Cumming, Patrick Herron, Claudia Holland, Kathleen Keane, Joyce Ogburn, Jake Orlowitz, Mary Augusta Thomas, Jeff Tsao

Abstract

Information underload occurs when we don’t have access to the information we need (for a variety of reasons, including cost) —researchers based at smaller institutions and in the global periphery, policymakers, and the general public, particularly with regard to medical research. Overload occurs when we can access everything but are simply overwhelmed by the torrent of information available (not all of which is equally valuable). Are these issues two sides of the same coin? In both cases, how can we work together to figure out how to get people the information they need? Can we? How widespread are these issues? What are the economic and research consequences of information underload and overload?

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