What constitutes the typical publication?

Few of us will ever write a classic paper … The papers that represent great leaps forward are few in number. The majority of our collective publications, and hence scientific progress, comes from incremental insights in which the context is provided by the ongoing struggle to resolve a number of outstanding questions in a field. … [T]hese experimentally solid papers are “timely, targeted, and temporary”. That is, they address unanswered issues that are on the minds of those in the field, they target specific issues amenable to experimental or theoretical resolution, and in some ways their impact is temporary, because subsequent papers using the emerging insights and new methodologies will supersede these solid papers. Yet these solid papers are the foundation for progress most of the time. —Virginia Walbot

Source: “Are we training pit bulls to review our manuscripts?”, Journal of Biology, March 9, 2009.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s