Daily Archives: May 7, 2015

A little provocation…

Here are a couple of excerpts from The Past, Present & Future of Scholarly Publishing by Michael Eisen of UC Berkeley to kick off discussion ahead of the Sydney Conference: “And interested members of the public – like many of you – find it difficult to engage with scientific research. Is it any wonder that such a large fraction of the population rejects basic scientific findings when the scientific community thumbs its collective noses at the them by making it impossible for them to read about what we’re doing with all of their money?”3157622372_1d8ecf1e71_o “…the only thing that distinguishes a contemporary paper from a 17th century one is the occasional color photograph. The multilayered, hyperlinked structure of the Web was made for scientific communication, and yet papers today are largely dispersed and read as static PDFs – another relic of the days of printed papers. We are working with the community to enable the “paper of the future”, that embeds not only things like movies, but access to raw data and the tools used to analyze them.”

Image: Print Paradigm RIP (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“…while it is a nice idea to imagine peer review as defender of scientific integrity – it isn’t. Flaws in a paper are far more often uncovered after the paper is published than in peer review. And yet, because we have a system that places so much emphasis on where a paper is published, we have no effective way to annotate previously published papers that turn out to be wrong… …So what would be better? The outlines of an ideal system are simple to spell out. There should be no journal hierarchy, only broad journals like PLOS ONE. When papers are submitted to these journals, they should be immediately made available for free online – clearly marked to indicate that they have not yet been reviewed, but there to be used by people in the field capable of deciding on their own if the work is sound and important.”