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The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete

  1. Apr 7, 2018 #1
    I'm going to assume there will be some strong options on this piece!

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/the-scientific-paper-is-obsolete/556676/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2018 #2

    phinds

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    I think that the objection that they have become far more complicated, and difficult (sometimes) to replicate because of the complexity associated with data analysis if a fair one, but it's quite a stretch to go from there to "obsolete"
     
  4. Apr 8, 2018 #3

    BillTre

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    Sounds like it was written by a cynic.

    I have read some early papers and I did not find them all short and to the point nor free of jargon.
    Many of them were pretty chatty rather than to the point.

    Most programs I have used for science have worked fine.

    I like the point about papers being more focused on single points and how they accrete to a larger body of knowledge. I think this is important to a more rapid advance of science.
    Also, the growth of scientific knowledge has lead to more scientific knowledge of the world than any one person can know as an individual. This increase of knowledge has also lead to the use of jargon (specialized terms particular to a field) as communication aides to people in a field.
     
  5. Apr 8, 2018 #4
    I don't have much knowledge about this topic, but I'm pretty sure that earlier scientific papers were less accessible than the author implies. Many publications are hidden behind paywalls but it's much easier to get a hold almost any kind of information on the internet. I doubt that any means of distributing papers in the past can rival this kind of accessibility. Even assuming what the author says is true, I also doubt that academics intentionally try to complicate their work. Jargon is necessary to ensure precision when communicating within the field. Scientific communication with the public, on the other hand, is an arduous and equally important task that involves retaining this level of precision while teaching in an engaging and understandable manner. This is an entirely different can of worms I won't get into here.

    I'm more interested in his point about interactivity. The interactivity of notebooks in Mathematica is something that I wish was more prevalent in standardized document formats. But it's difficult to standardize these kinds of documents. Even though I am a fan of programs like Mathematica, their licenses can be hideously expensive. IPython, Sage, and other free software are potential solutions but change rapidly and haven't become widespread enough as of now. Academia is fairly traditional and is very slow to change. I hope academic papers can come up to speed to accommodate for the wonderful capabilities of technology.
     
  6. Apr 22, 2018 #5
    Papers should be shorter for sure. As the number of papers increases exponentially, journals should encourage short, concise and far less redundant work.
     
  7. May 17, 2018 at 7:53 PM #6

    Pythagorean

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    In theoretical/computational neiroscience, we have modelDB:

    https://senselab.med.yale.edu/modeldb/

    Host your model's scripts and data, reference the link in your paper, and let people run it themselves.
     
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