On Publishing and the Sneetches: A Wake-up Call?
farleyas's bookmarks 2018-08-16
Two institutions—learned societies and scientific journals—midwifed a scientific revolution in the 17th century that still dominates our professional lives today. Learned societies like the ASCB remain relevant because they provide forums for sharing results, discussing the practice of science, and projecting our voices to the public and the policymakers. Scientific journals still disseminate our work, but in the Internet-connected world of the 21st century this is no longer their critical function. Journals remain relevant today almost entirely because they provide a playing field for scientific and professional competition: To claim credit for a discovery, we publish it in a peer-reviewed journal; to get a job in academia or money to run a lab, we present piles of these published papers to universities and funding agencies. Publishing is so embedded in the practice of science that whoever controls the journals controls access to the entire profession. It is, therefore, worth examining to whom we have entrusted the keys to the kingdom of science.