While wallowing in the murkily polluted wading pool* that is the blogospheric discussion of Unscientific America, I noticed that Uncertain Chad and Aunt Janet have returned to the more fundamental, and therefore more interesting, question. It touches on the larger topic of OpenAccess Science, the Congressional mandate for deposition of NIH-funded manuscripts in PubMed Central and yes, Obama's inagural call to restore science to its rightful place.
Archive for the 'Open Access' category
My usual preamble is that I don't really get on board with the OpenScienceEverything!!!! types but I do back some essential principles. One, that if the taxpayer funds our work than that taxpayer has a right to the usual output of our work (i.e., the papers) without a lot of additional hassle or charge. Two, our usual output is intended to be public. Meaning that while various interests may want to make money from our output, the goal would be to make it available (again, at a charge) to as many people who would want it. Three, our usual output is also intended to be archival to history
Well, awhile back some colleagues and I were discussing a situation that was initially sort of amusing. Then I realized that the situation was complicated and I'm not really sure where I stand.
Should people be allowed to blog and Tweet and otherwise discuss results that are presented at scientific conferences?
Browsing over DamnGoodTechnician's recent posts for the one I was going to
excoriate gently discuss, I ran across this gem:
Part of my project has been to recapitulate the results from a fairly recent Nature paper. I'm not sure how many of you have attempted this feat, but I believe deciphering the Rosetta Stone may have been simpler. What concentration of these ingredients did you use? WHICH of these ingredients did you use? How long? How many media changes? Transfection? Infection? Gack. The kicker is that the protocol induces a switch in cell fate, and the timecourse for that change is more or less two weeks, so any conditions I set up today as a "Let's see if this set of conditions proves you guys weren't lying" experiment won't be ready to go until nearly May.
I've been banging my head on this protocol for about two months now
An editorial in Nature tells its readership that It's good to blog. And more specifically:
More researchers should engage with the blogosphere, including authors of papers in press.
This is a very strange little editorial. It isn't really what it seems to be about. Or it is about more than it seems. Something like that.
Let us start with the bloggy part.
Indeed, researchers would do well to blog more than they do. The experience of journals such as Cell and PLoS ONE, which allow people to comment on papers online, suggests that researchers are very reluctant to engage in such forums. But the blogosphere tends to be less inhibited, and technical discussions there seem likely to increase.
Moreover, there are societal debates that have much to gain from the uncensored voices of researchers. A good blogging website consumes much of the spare time of the one or several fully committed scientists that write and moderate it. But it can make a difference to the quality and integrity of public discussion.
Sounds pretty good. Nice little bit of endorsement from one of the science world's two premier general-science magazines. All y'all bloggers who are on the science paths will want to keep a copy of this editorial in your little file (along with such items as this, this, this and this) to brandish to the Chair or Dean or tenure committee once your blogging habits are discovered.
The observation that discussions at official journal sites are likely to be less vigorous and useful in comparisons to more informal forums, such as blogs, is to be congratulated. Too true. We cannot rely on publishers who create discussion mechanisms because they are inevitably leery of the free-flowing anonymous-comment powered, occasionally offensive or profane discussions that abound on blogs. So they try to control and civilize the discussion. This never goes well.
Readers will recall Editor David Linden [ blog ] laying down an assertive editorial on the nature of the scientific publication process when he took up the reins at Journal of Neurophysiology. Now he is pushing to alter the rules of his Journal such that manuscripts that have been deposited in a pre-print archive such as arXiv or Nature Precedings are not excluded from consideration.
Editor Linden has requested our assistance in soliciting feedback on this proposed change which he intends to discuss at an upcoming meeting of the Publications committee of the American Physiological Society. If you have an opinion on this move, please respond to his mini-survey at the bottom of the letter which appears after the jump.
Oh you crazy bloggers. How dare you actually.....discuss....a scientific finding?
We would actually encourage you to write a comment to NEJM. NEJM is well known for its devotion for scientific debates on recently published papers. That would be a normal way to debate and discuss scientific findings. We would also have a possibility to answer on an "equal ground".
Mike Dunford of The Questionable Authority caught ReedElsevier making Questionable use of one of his blog posts. Now the last time there was a big 'Borg blowup about "fair use" of material under copyright, I made some observations that were a little critical of bloggers. I wanted to revisit my thoughts on the matter.