About the RWA parody at The Scholarly Kitchen

Interested in scholarly publishing? If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you are (I’m assuming you are a scientist. If you are not, let me know! I’d love to know who else is reading this).

Please take a look at this post by Kent Anderson (CEO/Publisher of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Inc), entitled “Revisiting a Little-Known RWA of the Past — The Restaurant Welfare Act of 1958“, a “satire” wrote about the Research Works Act. This is at the Scholarly Kitchen blog.

I won’t comment about it here; instead, I strongly advise you to read it, particularly the comments section, in which Anderson takes a swing at the PLoS ONE business model when Michael Eisen starts commenting.
Some of Anderson’s arguments, in which he clearly exhibits his disdain for PLoS One, appeal to a somewhat outdated publishing “world”, in which the internet and its ability to connect scientists from all over the world and find new research articles, regardless of where they are published, is not considered.

He claims that journals serve only two purposes, “quality validation and relevance signaling” and that PLoS ONE does neither. My comment above goes to the 2nd statement. I don’t need a journal to tell me what articles to read. Library days are over. I won’t go the library and pick up a copy of Nature or PNAS (or whatever journal has published an article related to my work, at least once) and hope there’s something there related to my research. I have email alerts now and have all the information, from all journals (currently I’m getting my alerts from Pubmed), so I can find articles related to my research. Hopefully, when I click on the links I get, I’ll be able to download the article in order to evaluate it…

(and before you say anything, no… I don’t think that just by looking at the journals indexed in Pubmed, I’m supporting the ‘relevance signaling’ argument. Do you know how many journals are in there? And PLoS ONE is there too).

This is how Mike Taylor puts it:

As a point of information, the relevance signalling part of this is no longer true (though it used to be). It’s now been many years since I read a paper on the basis of what journal it was published in rather than what it contains. Most papers I read, I am hardly even aware of what journal it’s in.

To which Anderson replies “well, that’s your experience“.

Anyway…. take a look at the parody.


Update (14Feb2012). Anderson blocked the comments on his post.

  1. Quotes from the science blogosphere « The MolBio Hut

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