Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quotes from the science world





(...) Most of us who are actively involved in science today do not worry about a hypothetical paper glut, for the simple reason that we store scientific documents electronically, not on paper. In the electronic age, the claim can be made that a manuscript is suitable for publication if it is technically sound and that the importance of any particular article should be determined after publication by the readership. This is the claim made by PLoS ONE, whose explosive success in scientific publishing is an indication that the contemporary scientific community endorses the claim.With a rigorous peer-review system, competent scientists can publish and will flourish; incompetent scientists cannot publish and will perish. In the end, science wins.

(my emphasis)

-Roberto Refinetti, on a recent letter to Science, entitled "Publish and Flourish".

(Image credit)

Share/Save/Bookmark

4 Comments:

Dave Bridges said...

so this implies that papers should just present findings, and/or potential models and then leave it up to the community to discuss?

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Basically, Refinetti argues that there's nothing wrong with the publication of “least publishable units” and prolificity, provided a proper peer review system exists ( this letter goes is response to these other guys suggesting that "high publication output may be correlated with low quality" ).

Whether a particular paper is "important or not", will be determined afterwards.

"competent scientists can publish and will flourish; incompetent scientists cannot publish and will perish. In the end, science wins".

To simply reject acceptance of a manuscript because it's not "important enough" (whatever that means to the editor/publisher) or is not on a trendy or hot topic, is clearly not the way to go. The PLoS ONE model, now reproduced by NPG (see http://www.nature.com/press_releases/scientificreports.html), can be of great value.

Let the scientific community decide whether the particular article is interesting/important or not.

Dave Bridges said...

So then to me the question boils down to what the least publishable unit is. Can you publish a single well controlled experiment. Or does it have to be in the context of a story?

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Hey Dave,

Let's see what the community has to say about it (see http://amontenegro.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-is-least-publishable-unit.html).

Check the link at the end of that post for a detailed discussion.