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Todd Suomela

The Tincture of Time - Should Journals Return to Slower Publishing Practices? - The Sch... - 0 views

  • This speed may create lower levels of accuracy and reliability. I’ve seen first-hand how rapid publication practices, driven by competitive forces as well as the tempting capabilities of Internet publishing, can lead to an increase in corrections and errata at scientific journals. There is a price to pay to squeezing the time to publication down to its absolute minimum. The aggregate rise in corrections and retractions across the journals system may provide more evidence that haste makes waste. With questions of the quality and legitimacy of the reports published in journals arising in the mainstream media, the costs of speed to our brands and the overall reputation of the industry may be worth reconsidering.

    Moreover, is rapid publication where the competitive advantage currently resides? Or has the strategic ground shifted?

  • Perhaps, instead, the strategic differentiator for journals isn’t unpredictable schedules, rapid publication, and error-prone publishing of scientific reports. With preprint servers supporting rapid, preliminary publication in an environment that is actually more supportive of amendments/corrections, speed, and unpredictability, perhaps journals should rethink shouldering the load of and courting the risks of rapid publication. More importantly, there are indications that coordinating with your audience, taking more time to fact-check and edit, and returning to a higher level of quality may be the smart move.

    Journals don’t have to perform every publishing trick anymore. Maybe it’s time to return to doing what they do best — vetting information carefully, validating claims as best they can, and ensuring novelty, quality, relevance, and importance around what they choose to publish.

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