Accelerating scientific publication in biology

  • 10.1073/pnas.1511912112
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • p 13439-13446, Volume 112, Issue 44,
  • journal-article
Scientific publications enable results and ideas to be transmitted throughout the scientific community. The number and type of journal publications also have become the primary criteria used in evaluating career advancement. Our analysis suggests that publication practices have changed considerably in the life sciences over the past 30 years. More experimental data are now required for publication, and the average time required for graduate students to publish their first paper has increased and is approaching the desirable duration of PhD training. Because publication is generally a requirement for career progression, schemes to reduce the time of graduate student and postdoctoral training may be difficult to implement without also considering new mechanisms for accelerating communication of their work. The increasing time to publication also delays potential catalytic effects that ensue when many scientists have access to new information. The time has come for life scientists, funding agencies, and publishers to discuss how to communicate new findings in a way that best serves the interests of the public and the scientific community.

Review

An important analysis of today's publication trends

A detailed observational study of the trends in biological sciences publishing, including analysis of time-to-publication, time-to-graduation, and the increasing minimum publication unit. The paper is interwoven with thoughtful analysis and perspective from the author. It...