[Coral-List] NYT Article on "Predatory Open-Access Journals"

Magnus Johnson m.johnson at hull.ac.uk
Fri Apr 26 12:50:26 EDT 2013

Hi Hector,

So what do you mean by "quality" or good science?  Do you mean quality as in Nature papers which favours e.g. doom and gloom fisheries stories and biomedical stuff with a half-life of months or do you mean something like DeGrave and Fransen (2011) http://www.vliz.be/imis/imis.php?refid=210286 that will still be cited 100 years from now?

Nature/Science doesn't publish negative or non results.  This has been highlighted as a life threatening issue in the medical field (see the excellent book by Ben Goldacre, Bad Pharma).  I suggest it is a problem rife throughout science that can only be addressed by encouraging more publication of null results or "less interesting" results.  Take for example, MPAs.  If we only see literature that suggests that MPAs are effective because people only ever get papers published that show an effect, we could be falsely lead into believing that they are a solution in every conservation case.  This may lead us to ignore other, more difficult ways of managing our environment..

Traditional publishing companies that earn money by publishing attractive papers have no incentive to publish null results.  Journals that accept papers on the basis that the science is correct, even if it isn't particularly spectacular (superficially) because the university pays can publish these important papers.

I sympathise with the battle you have with your system in terms of reward for effort, but I suggest that the problem is with the system rather than the publishing models.

Best wishes, Magnus

Ps I speak from a position of strength on these matters having had a letter published in Nature.  I was the first person to get the word "Bollocks" published in that esteemed journal.  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6828/full/410513c0.html

-------------- next part --------------
To view the terms under which this email is 
distributed, please go to 

More information about the Coral-List mailing list