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Showing posts from January, 2015

Publish or Perish: an old system adapting to the digital era

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By Annie Chen and Michael Allegrezza            When scientific publishing was developed in the 19th century, it was designed to overcome barriers that prevented scientists from disseminating their research findings efficiently. It was not feasible for scientists to arrange for typesetting, peer review, printing, and shipping of their results to every researcher in their field. As payment for these services offered by publishers, the researchers would transfer the exclusive copyrights for this material to the publisher, who would then charge subscribers access fees. To limit the printing costs associated with this system, journals only published articles with the most significant findings. Now, nearly 200 years later, we have computers, word processors, and the Internet. Information sharing has become easier than ever before, and it is nearly instantaneous. But the prevailing model of subscription-based publishing remains tethered to its pre-digital origins, and for the most part these…

The Richest Return of Wisdom

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By Brian S. Cole
    The real lesson I’ve gleaned from my time in pursuit of a PhD in biomedical research hasn’t been the research itself; indeed many of my colleagues and I came into the program already equipped with extensive bench experience, but the real eye-opener has been how science is communicated.  When I was an undergraduate, assiduously repeating PCR after PCR that quietly and dutifully failed to put bands on a gel, I just assumed that experiments always worked in the well-funded, well-respected, well-published labs that wrote the papers we read in school.  As an undergraduate, I had implicit trust in scientific publications; at the end of the PhD, I have implicit skepticism.  It turns out I’m not alone.
    The open access movement has taken a new tone in the past year: increasing recognition of theirreplicability1 and alarming prevalence of scientific misconduct2 in highly-cited journals has led to questioning of the closed review process.  Such a process disallows the pub…

PSPG Newsletter January 2015

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The Penn Science Policy Newsletter is out! Click here or on the image below to view.