Do Research or Publish? Like any human activity, scienti ̄c resear ch has a logical sequence starting from an idea and taking shape with a project, the search for funding, the acquisition of human and instrumental resources, carry ing out measurements, analysing data and communicating the results to the s cienti ̄c community. Communicating results is a key part of the scienti ̄c process because it stimulates criticism and discussion and ensures a broadening of knowledge that is the main objective of all scienti ̄c investigation. All would be we ll if this complicated time-consuming process stemmed from curiosity and the desire to know more, and terminated with the transfer of experience, be it positive or negative, to other colleagues in a shared game designed to discover the most genial solutions to problems and overcome increasingly dffcult limits. Yes, rese arch should be a game of challenging minds and sharing results. But is that truly the case? Or is all this the nostalgic memory of a world long past, surviving only in the minds of romantic deluded individuals? In more than twenty years of editorial responsibility of international scientific journals, I have had contact with ma ny world-renowned researchers talented minds able to manage highly complex res earch projects and analyze results with exceptional intelligence. But in many cases, it has been obvious that the interest in publishing a study by far exceeded the interest in highlighting the scienti ̄c problem, tackling it with genial solutions, and sharing the pleasure of constructive discussion with other resea rchers. Papers are well-written, skilfully put together to avoid criticism by the ref erees, with a bibliography organized to satisfy all specialists in the sector, and always boasting positive results backed by impeccable statistical analyses. Yet, these papers reveal a singular lack of personal involvement on the part of the authors, an almost mechanical act of printing pages and formulae that few w ill read not to support or criticize, but to insert the title in a reference list to another paper equally shallow and lacking in commitment. Talking about modern writers and to illustrate their low level of production, Professor Umberto Ec o claimed that many books die before their authors. Likewise, I think that m any scientific works are published never to be read, indeed many authors hope they never will be read, fearing that someone may call their research into question or criticize the method or results. Is this always the case or are there situations immune from this worrying trend? No, it is not always the case and there are papers that do kindle the ̄re of curiosity and withstand discussion and intellectual challenge. But unfortunately, positive studies and the authors that write them are buried by the avalanche of useless papers and \professional" authors. Whose fault is it? Can we turn the clock back? The main factor responsible for undermin ing scienti ̄c publication is the fact that academic institutions directly link scienti ̄c publication to the worth of a researcher and the consequent impact th is has in terms of academic promotion, funding, and prestige. The Impact Factor (a global bibliometric index originally devised to decide how many copies of a journal to keep in a library) has been used to rank the status of researchers. The citation of papers by other researchers has been used to rank the status of journals. As academic and professional careers depend on these indices, researchers promptly fell in to line, churning out copious amounts of papers with small additions and di®ere nces, and coming to tacit agreement on mutual citation. Analyzing the curricula of many \scientists", we should be scan- dalized rather than proud to ̄nd they publish more than one paper a month in international journals and are repeated l y cited for the originality and scienti ̄c quality of each publication. It is a rule of the game, an \editorial stamp" whose impact on the academic world resembles that of the \market bubble" on the world economy. Sooner or later, the house of cards will collapse and those that built it will sink into anonymity. It is also noteworthy that the urge to publish for publishing's sake, to win a prestigious place in the international scienti ̄c ranking prevails among the younger nations, where the methods of academic comparison have only recently been intro- duced, with fewer institutions to verify correct scienti ̄c behavior (plagiarism, falsi ̄cation, etc.). This is a bitter observation of the current state of a®airs that cannot simply be accepted, but must in some way be corrected before it is hamstrung. Yes, hamstrung, because in this skewed process, in the dynamics of scienti ̄c exchange, many excellent minds unsupported by the arrogance and strength of resources are su®ocated and suppressed. Behind those minds are people, original ideas, dreams, and hopes that were they protected and nurtured, would make our world better and more welcoming place. Denouncing what is wrong is the ̄rst step. The second is to take action to change things and guide behavior in the right direction. Who must do this? Certainly not those who are conditioned by the system and forced to obey its rules be they right or wrong. It is the older generation who must take action those who are due to retire and have nothing to lose in taking a critical stand against this \system". Older professors ought to see themselves as the \high priests of science", responsible for the correct application of the scienti ̄c method and the guardians of every individual's intellectual freedom in order to ensure scienti ̄c research is a mind game the best game in the world!

EDITORIAL LETTER / Romano Zannoli. - In: JOURNAL OF MECHANICS IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0219-5194. - STAMPA. - 13:1(2013), pp. 1-3. [10.1142/S021951941301001X]

EDITORIAL LETTER

ZANNOLI, ROMANO
2013

Abstract

Do Research or Publish? Like any human activity, scienti ̄c resear ch has a logical sequence starting from an idea and taking shape with a project, the search for funding, the acquisition of human and instrumental resources, carry ing out measurements, analysing data and communicating the results to the s cienti ̄c community. Communicating results is a key part of the scienti ̄c process because it stimulates criticism and discussion and ensures a broadening of knowledge that is the main objective of all scienti ̄c investigation. All would be we ll if this complicated time-consuming process stemmed from curiosity and the desire to know more, and terminated with the transfer of experience, be it positive or negative, to other colleagues in a shared game designed to discover the most genial solutions to problems and overcome increasingly dffcult limits. Yes, rese arch should be a game of challenging minds and sharing results. But is that truly the case? Or is all this the nostalgic memory of a world long past, surviving only in the minds of romantic deluded individuals? In more than twenty years of editorial responsibility of international scientific journals, I have had contact with ma ny world-renowned researchers talented minds able to manage highly complex res earch projects and analyze results with exceptional intelligence. But in many cases, it has been obvious that the interest in publishing a study by far exceeded the interest in highlighting the scienti ̄c problem, tackling it with genial solutions, and sharing the pleasure of constructive discussion with other resea rchers. Papers are well-written, skilfully put together to avoid criticism by the ref erees, with a bibliography organized to satisfy all specialists in the sector, and always boasting positive results backed by impeccable statistical analyses. Yet, these papers reveal a singular lack of personal involvement on the part of the authors, an almost mechanical act of printing pages and formulae that few w ill read not to support or criticize, but to insert the title in a reference list to another paper equally shallow and lacking in commitment. Talking about modern writers and to illustrate their low level of production, Professor Umberto Ec o claimed that many books die before their authors. Likewise, I think that m any scientific works are published never to be read, indeed many authors hope they never will be read, fearing that someone may call their research into question or criticize the method or results. Is this always the case or are there situations immune from this worrying trend? No, it is not always the case and there are papers that do kindle the ̄re of curiosity and withstand discussion and intellectual challenge. But unfortunately, positive studies and the authors that write them are buried by the avalanche of useless papers and \professional" authors. Whose fault is it? Can we turn the clock back? The main factor responsible for undermin ing scienti ̄c publication is the fact that academic institutions directly link scienti ̄c publication to the worth of a researcher and the consequent impact th is has in terms of academic promotion, funding, and prestige. The Impact Factor (a global bibliometric index originally devised to decide how many copies of a journal to keep in a library) has been used to rank the status of researchers. The citation of papers by other researchers has been used to rank the status of journals. As academic and professional careers depend on these indices, researchers promptly fell in to line, churning out copious amounts of papers with small additions and di®ere nces, and coming to tacit agreement on mutual citation. Analyzing the curricula of many \scientists", we should be scan- dalized rather than proud to ̄nd they publish more than one paper a month in international journals and are repeated l y cited for the originality and scienti ̄c quality of each publication. It is a rule of the game, an \editorial stamp" whose impact on the academic world resembles that of the \market bubble" on the world economy. Sooner or later, the house of cards will collapse and those that built it will sink into anonymity. It is also noteworthy that the urge to publish for publishing's sake, to win a prestigious place in the international scienti ̄c ranking prevails among the younger nations, where the methods of academic comparison have only recently been intro- duced, with fewer institutions to verify correct scienti ̄c behavior (plagiarism, falsi ̄cation, etc.). This is a bitter observation of the current state of a®airs that cannot simply be accepted, but must in some way be corrected before it is hamstrung. Yes, hamstrung, because in this skewed process, in the dynamics of scienti ̄c exchange, many excellent minds unsupported by the arrogance and strength of resources are su®ocated and suppressed. Behind those minds are people, original ideas, dreams, and hopes that were they protected and nurtured, would make our world better and more welcoming place. Denouncing what is wrong is the ̄rst step. The second is to take action to change things and guide behavior in the right direction. Who must do this? Certainly not those who are conditioned by the system and forced to obey its rules be they right or wrong. It is the older generation who must take action those who are due to retire and have nothing to lose in taking a critical stand against this \system". Older professors ought to see themselves as the \high priests of science", responsible for the correct application of the scienti ̄c method and the guardians of every individual's intellectual freedom in order to ensure scienti ̄c research is a mind game the best game in the world!
2013
EDITORIAL LETTER / Romano Zannoli. - In: JOURNAL OF MECHANICS IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0219-5194. - STAMPA. - 13:1(2013), pp. 1-3. [10.1142/S021951941301001X]
Romano Zannoli
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/393238
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