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Updating Journal Practices

April 25, 2013

Nature has announced new procedures for publishing, to tackle the problems with irreproducibility etc.  This is a good thing. I’ve heard some… cynical? Skeptical? voices in my twitter feed today (apparently some iffy publication in an area where I understand nothing). And, yes, time will tell. But, considering that the high impact journals have a higher rate of retraction than, well, the less fancy, I think this may be a necessary move to preserve reputation.

Meanwhile, someone I follow on Twitter (doesn’t that sound like the beginning of an urban legend in the time of internet – but I just didn’t record who, alas) linked in this medpage post, reporting on Dr. Elizabeth Loder blogging that Medical journals should put the kibbosh on “ground breaking” research. I particularly like this sentence:

“First, why not quarantine apparently groundbreaking studies about new treatments or interventions in a special journal until the findings are replicated and long term consequences explored?”

It goes on with brown paper bags and skull and crossbones and fun things. But, she has a point. Should be done for “groundbreaks” in other messy fields too.  Just, go ahead and do some Normal Science, and puzzle solving for a, um, change?


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