The Essence and Transcendence of Scientific Publishing

Authors : José L. Medina-Franco, Edgar López-López

Disseminating the results of scientific research in various forms (typically, peer-reviewed papers, conferences, and so on) nurtures and shapes the advancement of science. Scientific publishing is highly attached to the four well-known Mertonian norms and values that comprise the character or ethos of modern science, namely: communism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism (Merton, 1973).

This is particularly true for publications that follow a rigorous peer-review and editorial process. Alongside dissemination of science that arguably is the primary reason for scientific publishing, it has other scientific, academic, and professional benefits on the large.

However, the pressure of publishing as a documented proof of productivity in academic and other professional settings has led to the “publish or perish’ aphorism (Neill, 2008; Publish or perish, 2010). In many cases, such paradigms obscure or alter the actual reasons and motivations for publishing, making it a “survival mechanism.”

This manuscript aims to share the authors’ opinions and revisit the right and fundamental reasons for scientific publishing. This Opinion is mainly directed to the students and young researchers that sometimes struggle at the beginning to organize, plan, and develop a manuscript.

The younger generations (and other more advanced or senior researchers) should consider scientific publishing as more than a survival mechanism to not perish, because such a focused motivation is counterproductive and burdens these initial steps.

Here, we highlight several other valid and collateral reasons for publishing beyond academic survival. Other important aspects of scientific publishing are not addressed in detail here, such as peer-review, the cost associated with open access, metrics to evaluate and rank the journals’ quality, and ethics in publishing. Instead, they are mentioned and discussed in the context of the primary goals and collateral benefits of publishing.

URL : The Essence and Transcendence of Scientific Publishing