Rajendran notes that Alexander Fleming’s simple observation that penicillin mold seemed to kill off bacteria in his petri dish could never be published today, even though it led to the discovery of lifesaving antibiotics. That’s because today’s journals want lots of data and positive results that fit into an overarching narrative (what Rajendran calls “storytelling”) before they’ll publish a given study.
“You would have to solve the structure of penicillin or find the mechanism of action,” he added.
But research is complex, and scientific findings may not fit into a neat story — at least not right away. So Rajendran and the staff at Matters hope scientists will be able to share insights in this journal that they may not been able to publish otherwise. He also thinks that if researchers have a place to explore preliminary observations, they may not feel as much pressure to exaggerate their findings in order to add all-important publications to their CVs. More.
In comparison with which, saving tens of thousands of lives and shortening WWII were trivia.
Good points, but the story would sound more convincing if it hadn’t started out with a hard luck story from, of all venues, the “social sciences.”
But the new Matters journal sounds interesting, and we’ll have more on it.
See also: Replication as key science reform
Is peer review a “sacred cow”? Ready “to be slaughtered”?
Whatever is happening at Retraction Watch
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