I have just discovered a genuine "digital" treasure island.. This is the site entitled Scientific Commons . The site is still in beta but does already contain true pearls.
Scientific Commons is reminiscent of the famous "tragedy of commons". This tragedy refers to pastures that were left available for free to farmers. They could leave their cattle there. Guess what happened. Since nobody had a property right on the pastures, nobody cared to maintain them properly. The cattle exhausted them. It died and farmers ended up starving.
According to the founders of Scientific Commons (University of St Gallen and Institute for Media and Communications Management), academic research is radically different: It starves if there is no easy way to access it and share it:
"The major aim of the project is to develop the worlds largest communication medium for scientific knowledge products which is freely accessible to the public. A key challenge of the project is to support the rapidly growing number of movements and archives who admit the free distribution and access to scientific knowledge. These are the valuable sources for the ScientificCommons.org project. The ScientificCommons.org project makes it possible to access the largely distributed sources with their vast amount of scientific publications via just one common interface. ScientificCommons.org identifies authors from all archives and makes their social and professional relationships transparent and visible to anyone across disciplinary, institutional and technological boundaries. Currently ScientificCommons.org has indexed about 10 million scientific publications and successfully extracted 4 million authors out of this data."
I urge you to go hunting. I did find Robert C. Merton 's PhD dissertation at MIT. I am sure PhD students will give Scientific Commons a high five!