Today, I have everything I need on my computer, and so do most working scientists as well. Papers can be found online because journals are online (and more and more are Open Access). Protocols are online. Books are online. Writing and collaboration tools are online. Communication tools are online. Data collection and data analysis and data graphing and paper-writing tools are all on the computer. No need for having any paper in the office, right? Right.
But remember how new that all is. The pictures (under the fold, the t-shirt is of Acrocanthosaurus at the NC Museum of Natural Science) of my old office are only five years old! You know I am a Web junkie. If I could have survived without paper, I would have ditched it all. But I could not (and the pictures show only half of the office – there were two large file cabinets full of reprints behind the photographer – my brother – and much, much more, plus more in the lab itself):