Sunday, January 24, 2010

Google's JourKnol, an alternative for publishing in science academia

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Day))The phrase "publish or perish" makes me shudder.  In my field, you can be the hardest worker, conduct the most exciting research, but if you do not publish your findings in a high impact journal, then it is as if you did not accomplish anything.  As I near completion of my PhD studies, "publish or perish" resounds in my ears every single day.  I know that the future of my career (new positions, ability to get funding, etc.) will depend on which scientific peer-reviewed journal my four plus years of research gets published in.  In about a month, my manuscript will be written and submitted to a journal.  If I am extremely lucky, then it will be accepted and published.  The likelihood of this happening is slim and the next best case scenario is that reviewers may request additional experiments prior to publication.  The worst that can happen is that the manuscript is rejected and I may have to re-submit my manuscript to a different journal for publication.  And so this is the process that we researchers go through to simply share our research with others.  Well, actually we go through this process so that we will have the most crucial evidence of our worth as researchers, our publication(s)... in hopefully a top-tier journal, of course. This is just how it works, right? 

Well, maybe not for long because I just came across this product that Google offers called JourKnol, which may one day become an alternative to the traditional publishing forum utilized in academia. JourKnol is different because as the article JourKnol challenges the medical journals' stronghold states,

"the author simply creates the content, loads it in, and clicks “Publish” – no peer review, no rejection, no delay, and no relinquishing copyright. And, from the moment they publish their Knol, authors...could upload the information and publish it and still get peer-reviewed. 
But how would publishing in JourKnol affect your career?? Will the scientific community value your research if it is published in JourKnol? The article, JourKnol challenges the medical journals' stronghold, addresses this concern by saying that the,
"traditional journals’ enviable position as the sole arbiters of the quality and impact of an author’s work may be challenged by web-derived measures of the impact of individual “articles,” such as number of hits, number of links, and reader ratings and comments.... The point is this: peer review, that most sacred of academic rituals, might ultimately be replaced by real-time rankings by experts"
To read the complete article, click here.

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