The physics community already has theirs. Now biology has its own site dedicated to the informal discussion of unpublished results. A new site launched this week, Nature Precedings, allows scientists to upload unpublished manuscripts while they are under consideration at a journal, perhaps inciting conversation and feedback regarding the work even before the article is accepted. In this day and age of caution and paranoia surrounding results (go to any scientific meeting these days and count the number of presentations that focus on published results vs. those that highlight unpublished ones), how do you think this will impact the neuroscience and publishing communities?
I see a definite place for this type of resource, providing a repository of additional data and user comments regarding techniques and discoveries, as a complement to the volumes of published papers that have undergone reviewer-mandated quality-control measures. But change comes slowly, especially when change involves freely releasing one’s precious data that have taken years to amass. I am skeptical as to how quickly this concept will integrate into the world of neuroscience. With the ease at which data can be anonymously reproduced and subsequently submitted, I feel that many neuroscientists will be cautious about what data they are willing to let go for free.
However, as a counter, this type of system works well for the physics and mathematics community (plenty of discussion fodder here)…
This is an experiment that should be interesting regardless of its outcome, my favorite kind.