News & Views item - October 2013
Science Devotes Over 25 pages of its October 4, 2013 Issue to Pressures and the Predators Affecting Scientific Communication.
The fourteen contributions, plus Marcia McNutt's editorial "Improving Scientific Communication", run the gamut from "The Rise of Open Access " to "Scholarly Communication: Cultural Contexts, Evolving Models ":
Introduction: Scientific Discourse
- Buckling at the Seams; Richard Stone and Barbara Jasny
The Rise of Open Access,
depicted by cartoonist Randall Munroe.
Who's Afraid of Peer Review?
John Bohannon-- Dozens of open-access journals targeted in an elaborate
Science sting accepted a spoof research article, raising questions
about peer-review practices in much of the open-access world.
The Seer of Science Publishing,
Tania Rabesandratana -- Vitek Tracz, founder of the first
for-profit open-access publisher, BioMed Central, has helped transform the
world of science publishing. Now he is setting out to shake the very
foundations of contemporary science by abolishing anonymous peer review.
The Power of Negative Thinking,
Jennifer Couzin-Frankel -- The scientific literature is replete with papers
that present results as stronger than they actually are—and rarely report
negative outcomes. Along with an increasing recognition that it is wrong to
bury negative findings, forums for publishing such data are expanding.
Hey, You've Got to Hide Your Work
Away, David Malakoff -- Academics have long struggled to balance an
ethos of openness with demands for secrecy. Whether new controls on
sensitive data will ultimately help or harm science and society is the
subject of vigorous debate.
David Malakoff -- "Dark," or classified, journals offer scientists with
clearances a place to share peer-reviewed secrets. The demand for restricted
outlets is bound to grow as governments classify more information.
Lock Up the Genome, Lock Down
Research? Eliot Marshall -- The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling
that raw human DNA is not patentable has rekindled debate over just how the
U.S. patent system—and gene patenting in particular—affects the conduct of
science. Critics say the system can work against innovators: Instead of
promoting the sharing of ideas, they say, it is often used to dam up
The Annual Meeting: Improving What
Isn't Broken, Jeffrey Mervis -- Tight travel budgets and
improvements in Web-based technologies for accessing meetings, among other
developments, are reasons to question the future of the traditional annual
scientific conference. But there are few signs that extinction is around the
What's Lost When a Meeting Goes
Virtual, Jeffrey Mervis -- Budget pressures persuaded NASA
officials to make the annual Lunar Science Forum a virtual affair. For
participants, the physical challenge of sitting at one's computer for hours
on end, as well as day jobs competing for attention, diminished the
Meetings That Flatter, but May Not
Deliver, Jon Cohen -- "Predatory" conferences may have a pernicious
effect on scientific discourse, critics warn, as some papers published in
proceedings of these conferences may not be valid science.
Great Presenters Lighting Up the
Auditorium, Jon Cohen -- For Bonnie Bassler, telling stories and
not getting bogged down in gritty details are elements of a captivating
Gut Instinct, Jon Cohen --
Larry Smarr gives spellbinding presentations that mix personal drama with
Policy Forum: Scholarly Communication: Cultural Contexts, Evolving Models, Diane Harley -- Despite predictions that emerging technologies will transform how research is conducted, disseminated, and rewarded, why do we see so little actual shift in how scholars in the most competitive and aspirant institutions actually disseminate their research? I describe research on faculty values and needs in scholarly communication that confirm a number of conservative tendencies in publishing. These tendencies, influenced by tenure and promotion requirements, as well as disciplinary cultures, have both positive and negative consequences. Rigorous research could inform development of good practices and policies in academic publishing, as well as counter rhetoric concerning the future of peer review and scholarly communication.
And for direct access to the multimedia presentations click below:
Pressures and the Predators Affecting Scientific Communication