How to Publish a Scientific Comment

in 1 2 3 Easy Steps by Prof Rick Trebino at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics (html or PDF versions).

In case any of you have not yet seen this, this science tragicomedy is an excellent read …

11 Comments »

  1. D said

    I wonder what the Editors of Optical Letters are thinking now?

    I wonder if all journals should allow online comments (without anonymity) about published articles?

    • writedit said

      Such as with PLoS ONE?

      • D said

        Yes. Exactly. Unfortunately my Society’s journals do not.

      • whimple said

        PLoS ONE is a failure in this regard. There essentially aren’t any online comments made about published articles there. They should allow commenters to be anonymous.

      • D said

        Unfortunately, you can see what anonymity has done to the tenor of debate on many newspaper websites. I don’t think journals would be immune. Perhaps one could post anonymously but you still have to register with a real identity. That way if things get out of hand the editors could intervene.

        Of course here I am posting anonymously on a message board myself.

  2. bikemonkey said

    Unfortunately, you can see what anonymity has done to the tenor of debate on many newspaper websites

    and you can also see what it does to the tenor of science-y type blogs like this one, FSP, MsPhD, Blue Lab Coats, etc.

    Why do you assume it will degenerate into the worst possible example of MSM type audience instead of being similar to the many examples of blogs that draw the same audience that would comment on a journal site?

  3. Why do you assume it will degenerate into the worst possible example of MSM type audience instead of being similar to the many examples of blogs that draw the same audience that would comment on a journal site?

    Fuck you, dumbass.

  4. D said

    I’d like to thank CPP for providing supporting data for my hypothesis.

    But, that is not the type of anonymous comment that concerns me. I am more concerned that given total anonymity the venal, petty and hateful fights that simmer within academia would start to become more apparent. I think that it would be less of a problem if commentators were forced to reveal their identifies to at least the editor.

    Now, it could be that academia everywhere except that places I have been are amazing citadels of collegiality and collaboration. So, anonymous comments are worth an experiment.

    It might be interesting to set up a webpage that linked to a journal’s articles as soon as they come out and provide space to comment.

  5. It is eerily disquieting to read Comrade PP’s posts; it’s like an echo of my internal monologue, made smarter.

  6. Alexander Shearer said

    Is it more or less uncomfortable to challenge someone’s results in person or in writing? I’ve had occasion to do the former, but not yet the latter (although I have recently written to someone to inform them that they managed to, through some systematic error in their pipeline, accidentally misannotate an entire genome).

    I wouldn’t say the PLoS One commenting system is a failure; the dearth of comments probably has a lot more to do with the massive bandwidth of PLoS One rather than a lack of interested parties; I recently cleared my PLoS One feed and it’s now back up to 245 new articles. I’ve certainly commented on PLoS One articles, including annotating one with a request for clarification, and I’ve seen comments asking for cites to support assertions and so forth. I haven’t yet seen any direct challenges, but then I also suspect the cross-section of PLoS One that I engage with is reasonably narrow enough to miss that kind of thing.

  7. […] in the scientific literature. My post last year about Rick’s tale of woe and intrigue generated a bit of discussion, and I thought it was time to revisit the issue of comments (or attempted comments) on journal […]

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