Thursday, December 10, 2009

Warp speed, Mr Spock!

I realize that Spock is normally not at the helm, but there is method to my madness (I think). Spock is a science officer and therefore a better addressee in the case of academic publishing. The problem with the publishing process in science is that it is ... well ... light speed at best. And light is just way too slow if you want to explore the universe.

Consider this: if the Sun were to mysteriously explode with no warning, we would remain in blissful ignorance of the fact for roughly 8 minutes. So, something better is needed. In case of the Star Trek universe, the answer is Warp Drive, which allows for faster-than-light travel.

Similarly, the publishing process (write abstract, get it accepted, write full paper, get it reviewed, improve it, publish it) usually takes months, sometimes even years. This means that an idea can potentially die of old age before it is given birth (officially). Also, multiple people can work on the same idea and only discover on the eleventh hour that somebody has already beaten them to it (by 2 minutes and 42 seconds). Additionally, peer review is limited to one or two pairs of eyes, instead of the wider community. So, something better is needed.

I guess the best thing we have going for us is the Internet. Posting raw ideas in a blog like this, getting feedback and comments WHILE you develop a paper, not AFTER it is published could potentially be the warp drive that I'm looking for.

Oh, I am well aware that I am not the first one to gripe about this problem, nor is my solution original in any way. But it is something that I intend to try. So please, feel free to demolish my ideas in the comments section (or contact me directly via e-mail).

Shields up!

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