Journaltalk - Rick Trebino: "How to Publish a Scientific Comment in 1 2 3 Easy Steps"

Rick Trebino: "How to Publish a Scientific Comment in 1 2 3 Easy Steps"

Posted 02 Mar 2010 by Daniel Klein

Rick Trebino, a physicist at Georgia Tech, tells a terrible and terribly funny story of trying to publish a comment, purportedly true. He begins:

The essence of science is reasoned debate. So, if you disagree with something reported in a scientific paper, you can write a “Comment” on it.

Yet you don’t see many Comments.

Some believe that this is because journal editors are reluctant to publish Comments because Comments reveal their mistakes—papers they shouldn’t have allowed to be published in the first place. Indeed, scientists often complain that it can be very difficult to publish one.

Fortunately, in this article, I’ll share with you my recent experience publishing a Comment, so you can, too. There are just a few simple steps:

  1. Read a paper that has a mistake in it.

  2. Write and submit a Comment, politely correcting the mistake.

  3. Enjoy your Comment in print along with the authors’ equally polite Reply, basking in the joy of having participated in the glorious scientific process and of the new friends you’ve made—the authors whose research you’ve greatly assisted.

Then he writes:

Ha ha! You didn’t really believe that, did you? Here’s the actual sequence of events…

And tells an excruciating story consisting of 123 steps, many outrageous.

Journaltalk provides an alternate route to publishing a comment. Back to the simple 1-2-3!

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02 Mar

Michael Nielsen: Toward a more open scientific culture
Rick Trebino: "How to Publish a Scientific Comment in 1 2 3 Easy Steps"
Journaltalk: Opening the journals to civil voices everywhere!

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