A vision for a better future – using new tools of openness and transparency to improve the scientific process | Reciprocal Space
"The academic community tends to view peer reviewed journal articles as the most important thing to considered when evaluating a contribution, or an individual. But is this actually the best we can manage? Or can we apply modern tools and more enlightened thinking to come up with new and improved ways to measure a contribution to the scientific enterprise? Journal articles are regarded as the ‘minutes of science’ - a supposedly perfect (and permanent) formulation of ‘the final answer’. And once an article is published, it is typically measured by a simple count of the number of citations it receives (or, disturbingly, to measure its worth based on a count of the citations that other articles in the same journal happened to receive). And yet, the journal article is only a single point in time in the lifecycle of a piece of work. When we only judge an article, we ignore the individuals behind it. And when we judge individuals based only on the article they have written, then we do not take account of the processes (both good and bad) that have led up to that point, or beyond. And when we judge those articles based only on scholarly citations, then we do not take account of the myriad of other ways that the publication has contributed to the scientific enterprise. In all of these ways, we believe that the process can be improved thanks to the development of new tools and new ways of thinking. The typical lifecycle of any new finding is to research it; to discuss and develop it; to formally publish it; to influence others by the act of publication; to accrue recognition for having done the work; and to learn from the experience when starting the next research project. Let’s deconstruct each step ..."