Science and paradoxes
10 things research authors do and you hopefully don’t...
1 - Did you know that...
‣ the biggest innovation in research journals, in the last 8
years, is the online version of paper works?
• Scientiﬁc journals are not innovating, this is a real
matter. A research paper 15 years ago could be exactly
the same today.
• But the web has ﬂuidly changed the way people
interact, communicate, publish and get in touch.
➡ In the last 8 years, blogging, online newspapers,
podcasts, ebooks, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,
Scribd... does it mean something?
2 - Did you know that...
‣ 0.08% of the research papers in engineering include a
chart presenting the competitive scenario?
• Out of 4000 journal papers in engineering technology,
only 3 (!!!) make it crystal clear to everyone how the
developed technology deals with competition.
• It never comes out clearly where the innovation is, how
technology improves the status quo.
➡ Would you present a business plan without business
opportunity, competitive advantages and competitors?
3 - Did you know that...
‣ it takes 2 to 25 months for a reviewer to get an
• Scientiﬁc review is frankly awful and useless. It is too
slow to work. One year to get a review for 5 pages?
• Building a concept, testing the feasibility, redesigning and
engineering it, and building a prototype takes 1-2 years.
➡ How many articles on newspapers are published
everyday? And how many people read them? And who
checks their correctness? And how long do you think
your business plan will last on the desk of a VC?
4 - Did you know that...
‣ each scientist picks up from 9 different templates when
he writes a paper?
• Incredibly, copying a research paper to another research
paper, and adapting it to the new format, takes about 2
hours! And without changing a single word!
• A scientist is never able to create documents with his
own style, always have to sustain imposition
➡ Is it possible that, as of 2010, no journals, not even the
online-only, are able to accept user’s style imposing
their own, unique, rare and frustrating template?
5 - Did you know that...
‣ blind review is not really blind, nor even a review?
• Each authored article is subject to blind review, but a
wide percentage of papers are reviewed by 1st/2nd
degree contacts, who have their papers reviewed by the
• Conﬂict of interest between reviewers and authors is
sometimes reversed: reviewers reject papers and steal
core ideas (isn’t there some kind of code of ethics?)
➡ Isn’t it cleaner, wiser and somehow safer to open the
reviewing process to anyone who has interest in the
6 - Did you know that...
‣ researchers read publications like kids read books?
• Kids look at ﬁgures, rather than reading. They get a
better feeling of the core concepts without even
reading a word.
• Well, 54% of researcher look only to ﬁgures and
charts. 83% ﬁgures, charts and abstract. Despite that,
ﬁgures and charts have low-quality, very low
information content and are strictly limited in number.
➡ Cut 80% of charts, pictures and schemes out of your
business plan and replace it with text. Does it look
appealing, catchy and clear now?
7 - Did you know that...
‣ scientists publish black-and-white charts for online
• 87% authors publish only b/w ﬁgures, even on online-
only journals. Authors pay an unfair extra fee for
publishing color ﬁgures (!!!).
• A paradox that clearly shows the degree of innovation
of scientiﬁc journals.
➡Do you commonly buy b/w magazines?
8 - Did you know that...
‣ despite the equal opportunity character, scientiﬁc
publications kill democracy?
• Write a paper authored with your research group, and
submit it to a high-level journal in your ﬁeld.
• Then send the very same paper, single-authored by a
science rookie. Do you see any change?
➡ Wouldn’t you like to have someone that reads your
work ﬁrst, and your bio last, rather then the opposite?
(You may object that nothing in this world is really
equal opportunity, but why can’t we start to make it?)
9 - Did you know that...
‣ the SEO potential of scientiﬁc papers is completely
• A research journals contains 4,200 papers (avg) and
provides no networking, no customized results; there
are 7.5 journals covering each research area. Despite
this 45% of user search fail (compare it to Google
• A good SEO can work with 30% of this database.
➡ Is it possible that such an incredible networking and
customizing power is completely wasted?
10 - Did you know that...
‣ scientists working in the same ﬁeld use the same
vocabulary and structure for their publications?
• Running some searches with a SE, it comes out that, of
all the papers belonging to a certain area, about 40%
share the same technicalities and 60% the same
• Authors are sometimes obliged, often forced, not to get
out of the strict boundaries imposed by publications
➡ Is the publication system so standardized that it does
not accept any creative push any more? And have
scientists accepted a low-freedom imposition?
• Can we really do something to improve the
scientiﬁc publication system (framed
• Or maybe, much better, let’s move one step
• Is the “publication system” the best way to
spread scientiﬁc research? (unframed
• Google Scholar
• Any comment welcome!