Publications – Wind of change?

Via Die Zeit and Nature:
The DFG, Germany’s main funding agency, just put down new guidelines for proposals. Starting in July, the proposals should contain only two directly relevant publications per year of requested funding, as well as up to five other papers (presumably the most important ones) covering the researcher’s general background. Matthias Kleiner, DFG president:

It is quality, not quantity, which matters.

Good point. Nevertheless, although the publish and perish mentality lately became quite tiring, I wonder if (how quickly) these new conditions will change the mentality of the researchers in general, and in particular the ones who are reviewing the proposals and are sitting in the committees for professorship appointment;-)

[Update 25.2.2010] Find the original DFG statement here (pdf, german).

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How to publish… not so seriously

Great comical contribution of Jorge Cham’s PhD Comics: ButterflyNature vs Science

The Nature Journal liked it, as apparent from their blog post;-) According to Jorge Cham, their general comment was:

Use this comic for procrastination or decompression, as you see fit.

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How to publish… seriously

Less sad than the recent Note on publishing a scientific commentGolden GateAs I am in a constant process of trying to understand the requirements for publishing high-impact scientific papers better (slow process… ;-), I am always eager to see what others write about it.

Recently, I linked to some PLOS editorials about Ten simple rules for nearly everything, including writing papers.

Along this line, the presentation given by the Phys. Rev. Lett. Editor Manolis Antonoyiannakis in Japan end of last year, is very interesting. In addition to hints for using the right phrasing when writing about scientific results, he also gives some insight – from the viewpoint of the Editorial Office of a high impact phyics journal – into the inner workings of paper predecision (by Editor) and general acceptance rate. Continue reading “How to publish… seriously”

How to Publish a Scientific Comment…

Via the blog Dynamics of Cats: How to publish a scientific comment in 123 Easy Steps by Prof. Rick Trebino. I do not have first hand experience myself, but the described exchange between commentator and editor is very interesting, and indeed very disturbing for an open-minded scientist! See also a comment on Trebino’s essay in the blog Adventures in Ethics and Science.

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Ten Simple Rules…

Already a couple of years ago, the editorial of PLoS Computational Biology was about Ten Simple Rules on Getting Published, Royal Gardenswhich contained useful advice for young scientists. As it was quite successfull in terms of positive response and also the number of downloads, its author Prof. P. E. Bourne wrote advice concerning other non-science but science-related topics for young scientists on PhD and PostDoc level, such as Ten Simple Rules for Getting Grants, Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations, and more. I always liked the idea, and as I recently stumbled across one of these articles, I share the links here. These editorials are open access.

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Science 3.0?

Via Academic Productivity: Interesting comment, What can Science learn from Google? I especially like that it starts with a quote by George Box (you know I like them;-)

All models are wrong, but some are useful.

Wide OpenThe article takes the provocative stance that we do not need models any more to describe the world, as petabyte data clouds combined with massive computing power are able to correlate data.

Data without a model is just noise. But faced with massive data, this approach to science — hypothesize, model, test — is becoming obsolete. […] Correlation supersedes causation, and science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all.

I humbly disagree. Understanding needs models, predictions need models. Of course, in order to find models, correlations – probably found by using computers – can show the way.

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