Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet; New York Times, 3/15/16

Amy Harmon, New York Times; Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet:
"On Feb. 29, Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University became the third Nobel Prize laureate biologist in a month to do something long considered taboo among biomedical researchers: She posted a report of her recent discoveries to a publicly accessible website, bioRxiv, before submitting it to a scholarly journal to review for “official’’ publication.
It was a small act of information age defiance, and perhaps also a bit of a throwback, somewhat analogous to Stephen King’s 2000 self-publishing an e-book or Radiohead’s 2007 release of a download-only record without a label. To commemorate it, she tweeted the website’s confirmation under the hashtag #ASAPbio, a newly coined rallying cry of a cadre of biologists who say they want to speed science by making a key change in the way it is published...
The delays prevent scientists from showing off their most recent work to prospective employers or benefactors. They have also, some researchers say, begun to look faintly absurd against the general expectations for speed and openness in the not-so-new digital age. With the rapid spread of the Zika virus, for instance, several journals signed a statement promising that scientists would not be penalized for immediately releasing their findings, given the potential benefit for public health, in turn prompting some scientists to ask, why draw the line at Zika?"

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