The faster science moves, the faster the world moves
Almost every technological and medical innovation in the world has its roots in a scientific paper. Science drives much of the world’s innovation. The faster science moves, the faster the world moves.
Progress in science right now is being held back by two key inefficiencies:
- The time-lag problem: there is a time-lag of, on average, 12 months between finishing a paper, and it being published.
- The single mode of publication problem: scientists share their ideas only via one format, the scientific paper, and don’t take advantage of the full range of media that the web makes possible.
The stakes are high. If these inefficiencies can be removed, science would accelerate tremendously. A faster science would lead to faster innovation in medicine and technology. Cancer could be cured 2-3 years sooner than it otherwise would be, which would save millions of lives.
The time-lag problem
The first major inefficiency is the time-lag problem for distributing scientific ideas. After you have written a scientific paper, it takes, on average, 12 months for the paper to be distributed to the global scientific community. During that time the paper is going through the peer review process, which takes an extremely long time.
If you read a paper, and have some thoughts about it, and write up a response, it is going to take 12 months for your response to be seen by the global scientific community.
Science is fundamentally a conversation between scientists around the world. Currently the intervals between iterations of that conversation are 12 months on average. This 12 month time-lag represents a huge amount of friction in the circulation of scientific ideas.
Imagine the slowdown on the web if every blog post, and every tweet, and every photo, was made available on the web 12 months after it was originally posted. Imagine if all the stories in your Facebook News Feed were 12 months old. People would be storming the steps of Congress, demanding change.
The time-lag in the distribution of scientific ideas is significantly holding back science. It’s critical for global progress that we work to remove this inefficiency.
The single mode of publication problem
Historically, if a scientist wants to make a contribution to the scientific body of knowledge, it has to be in the form of a scientific paper.
Blogging hasn’t taken off in science, because scientists don’t get credit for writing blog posts. You often hear a scientist saying ‘I’m not going to put these ideas in a blog post, because they are good enough for me to incorporate into a paper, which I’ll publish in the next couple of years’. Everyone loses out because of that delay of a couple of years.
via TechCrunch – Richard Priceᔥ
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