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Title: Publish or perish: authorship and peer review

item Foley, Michael

Submitted to: Weed Science Society of America Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2009
Publication Date: 2/1/2009
Citation: Foley, M.E. 2009. Perish: Authorship and Peer Review [Abstract]. Weed Science Society of America Meeting Abstracts. Presentation 373.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Publish or perish is defined in Wikipedia as the pressure to publish work constantly to further or sustain one’s career in academia. This is an apt description given that refereed scientific publications are the currency of science and the primary means for broad dissemination of knowledge. Professional scientists holding publically funded academic, not-for-profit, and government positions have an obligation to participate honestly and ethically in the various facets of publication, such as authorship, reviewing, and editing of scientific articles. Inexperienced authors should seek mentors to provide perspective on what, when, where, and how to publish and who can provide feedback on scientific writing. Authors should concentrate on what they publish and its quality more so than where they publish. Publishing fashions change, but important, high quality research will be sought out, cited, and has a more durable impact on society and science. Nevertheless, advancement in the form of promotion, tenure, and funding may depend on current fashion; therefore, it is prudent to understand institutional values as they relate to quantity, quality, journal impact factor, and/or impact of the research. Scholarly publication requires committed, impartial, and knowledgeable reviews that logically and clearly advise editors. Reviewers must be capable of identifying and evaluating what is new, making constructive and respectful criticisms, distinguishing between style and content, and justifying statements with references or logical arguments. Reviewers highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a paper; they are not responsible for rewriting poorly crafted papers. As an author’s publication skills increase, so does their visibility. Eventually, authors may be asked to serve in an editorial capacity, which can enhance a career, hone writing and reviewing skills, and provide a satisfying way to give back to the profession. Finally, if authors realize that science advances in incremental stages, they have self-confidence, and a support system, there should be little temptation to succumb to the pressures to publish by abandoning ethical standards. Indeed, scientific fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism are rare and far less prevalent than sometimes portrayed in the media. Research papers are an author’s legacy to science; strive to write them well and with integrity.