Publish or Perish

By: NARA

Scientists often say 'Publish or Perish' to insist on publication.

To publish, one has to have research results first.

In order to do research, the knowledge on that particular field is essential.

In one of the fields scientists fix up a project to research upon.

They search the literature to find out what information is already available on that project.

After knowing the various allied works, they give a reason for undertaking their project.

The research project has to be conducted with certain known or unknown methodologies.

Once the results are obtained, they have to be repeated to confirm whether they are artifacts or repeatable results.

If it is a repeatable one, then a paper has to be written according to the format of a particular journal.

There are many guides written to prepare a research paper, which should be read by scientists.

The paper thus prepared has to be sent to the editors of the concerned journal.

The editor checks the paper whether it fits into the scope of his journal or not.

If it does not fit, the n he coolly send it back to the author of the paper saying that the paper is outside the scope of his journal.

Then the author has to choose another journal and alter the format and send.

If it is within the scope of the journal, the editor sends the paper two referees who know something about the line of work mentioned in the paper.

Some journals refer to three referees.

When the editor gets back the comments of the referees, adverse or otherwise, he sends them to the author of the concerned paper.

Thus the procedure prolongs for a full year sometimes.

Nowadays, the internet helps to shorten the time period to publish any paper.

There are scientists who publish profusely, whereas there are some who are shy-publishers.

Publication is the measure of one's research potential and contribution.

Therefore, there is no excuse to have less number of publications.

International journals review the papers very strictly, whereas the national ones do not pay so much seriousness.

There is the State - level science journals also.

It is very easy to publish in these journals because the referees are very lenient.

Moreover, if the journal is strict in accepting paper, the publication of the journal may not be possible in time.

Such limitation makes the journal to accept as many papers as possible to give life to the journal.

The authors get an advantage, but the credibility of these papers is not recognized by reputed institutions.

Anyway the slogan 'Publish or Perish' makes all possible ways to publish as many papers as possible within a short time.

Some of the papers carry more than one author, to give credit to the colleagues or boss of the author.

There are many misdeeds even among the so called scientists who want to publish and perish!

One of my professors, when I was a graduate student, used to say that it is enough to have some good quality papers to tell about your scientific contribution.

Publishing is a must for a scientist, but that does not mean to publish the facts already known.

Invariably most of the papers contain known facts published a decade or two ago.

Such papers are no use to the scientific world.

Instead of quantity (number) quality is essential for publication.

The greed for papers is a disease we find among the present day scientists.

The usefulness of a paper depends on the new findings rather than some already known facts.

Above all, the relevance of the work counts more.

Much has been written by scientists regarding the quality of papers.

Still, most of the young, even old scientists do not follow the those writings.

When this attitude will change?

Scientific ethics have to be followed by every scientist.

There is no point in ignoring the ethics and go as one likes.

Science tries to find truth, nothing but truth.

If we meddle with it, then science loses its charm.

Although perfection is not possible at least nearing perfection is certainly possible.

With this in mind, all scientists should work.

No one should insist on the number of publication for getting a promotion.

We know that every once can make a large number of publication for getting a promotion.

We need to pay attention to the content not the count.

I hope scientists will realize the importance of their publications and try to publish what is worth to publish.

That should be a better scientific ethic.

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September, 2007

Science
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