Thousands of scientific research and reports are issued every year and citation is a very big deal. The more a specific report is validated through other peoples research and more profound impact it can have. These days, articles that are ten years or younger tend to show up in Google searches and are very easy to find. What about the reports written in the early 20th century?
The impact of older articles has grown substantially over 1990-2013. In 2013, 36% of citations were to articles that are at least 10 years old; this fraction has grown 28% since 1990.
Scholarly research organizations have been digitizing their old reports at an accelerated rate the last five years. Now that finding and reading relevant older articles is about as easy as finding and reading recently published articles, significant advances aren’t getting lost on the shelves and are influencing work worldwide for years after.
Never has it been so easy to look up a circuit diagram, learn about gene therapy or read the latest papers about black holes.