Category Archives: publishing

On anonymity in science and on Twitter

A lot of people who I interact with on Twitter, and whose blogs I read, have chosen to tweet and write under pseudonyms. This puzzled me at first, but I have come to realize that there are a LOT of good reasons for people to mask their real identities online. Anonymity allows people to express […]

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PubMed Commons: Post publication peer review goes mainstream

I have written a lot about how I think the biggest problem in science communication today is the disproportionate value we place on where papers are published when assessing the validity and import of a work of science, and the contribution of its authors. And I have argued that the best way to change this […]

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Apotheosis of cynicism and deceit from scholarly publishers

The Association of American Publishers, who lobby on behalf of most for-profit and society scholarly publishers, have long opposed moves to make the scientific literature more readily available to the public. But, as open access publishing has gained traction and funders increasingly demand free access to the work they fund, the AAP’s defense of the […]

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The Immortal Consenting of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot has an essay in today’s New York Times discussing the recent publication of the genome sequence of a widely used human cell line. Skloot, as most of you already know, wrote a book about the history this cell line  – known as HeLa for Henrietta Lacks, the woman from whom they were obtained. In […]

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Retraction action, what’s your faction: the dangers of citation worship

If you ask scientists to list words they are most afraid to hear associated with their work, I suspect “retraction” would rank high on the list. Retraction is a kind of death sentence, applied only when papers contain serious methodological errors or were tainted by fraud. So the recent retraction of a PLoS Pathogens paper […]

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This 100,000 word post on the ENCODE media bonanza will cure cancer

It is oddly fitting that the papers describing the results of the NIH’s massive $200m ENCODE project were published in the midst of political convention season. For this was no typical scientific publication, but a carefully orchestrated spectacle, meant to justify a massive, expensive undertaking, and to convince us that we are better off now […]

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The Glacial Pace of Change in Scientific Publishing

I was excited today when my Twitter stream started lighting up with links to an article titled “The Glacial Pace of Scientific Publishing: Why It Hurts Everyone and What We Can Do To Fix It“. Sounded right up my alley. I was even more excited when I clicked and saw that it was written by […]

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How President Obama could really lead on open access

[The Washington Post ran a nice op-ed today from two student leaders linked to the recent public access petition campaign. I had submitted one that urges the administration to take a more agressive stance, which I am posting here.] Last weekend, a “We the People” petition calling on the Obama administration to provide free access […]

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What the UC “open access” policy should say

The joint faculty senate of the ten campuses of the University of California has floated a trial balloon “open access” policy. I, of course, laud the effort to move the ball forward on open access, but the proposed policy falls short in two key ways. 1) The rights reserved by the University are too limited. […]

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20 years of cowardice: the pathetic response of American universities to the crisis in scholarly publishing

When Harvard University says it can not afford something, people notice. So it was last month when a faculty committee examining the future of the university’s libraries declared that the continued growth of journal subscription fees was unsustainable, even for them. The accompanying calls for faculty action are being hailed as a major challenge to the traditional publishers […]

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