Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Humorous Aside: The changing face of peer-reviewed publications

The process of getting one's research published has changed dramatically over the years. When Einstein was a young man he didn't have a PhD and was working in a patent office. He was brilliant, and managed to get multiple research papers published in Physics journals even though he didn’t have a PhD nor an academic appointment. He was the ultimate outsider.

In today’s peer-review publication climate I would be shocked if a young outsider scientist with no PhD and no academic faculty position would ever be able to get a ground breaking new physics idea published in one of the world’s decent journal publications. I suspect that most journal editors would be too apprehensive about publishing an outsider's arguments as it may lower the journal's prestige among the scientists who would otherwise publish therein. Even scientists with ground-breaking ideas, a PhD and an academic appointment regularly find their work stymied in the peer-review process.

I like this comic about Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree waiting for another apple to fall on his head so that he can satisfy his peer-reviewers and finally get his theory of gravity published!