Posted on September 13th, 2012 in Essays, Force11, Maryann Martone, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | 5 Comments »
The NIF team recently attended the Neuroinformatics Conference, held in Munich, Germany. The conference featured several lively discussions on the reproducibility problem in neuroscience (and neuroinformatics) and what should be done. Many in the audience complained that part of the problem is that the journals, especially the high impact ones (you know who you are), are cutting materials and methods further and further. Many calls were made to put pressure on the publishers, and NIF is certainly all for that. But thanks to our involvement in FORCE11, we asked the question to the audience “Why are you relying on the journals for this? If you think that you need detailed materials and methods, why aren’t you publishing them on the web? Your paper can still be in the journal, but why aren’t you making videos explaining your methods and posting them on You Tube or Sci Vee. Why aren’t you using wikis like Open Wetware to make your detailed protocol available? Why aren’t you writing a blog including details about your paper, including more detailed methods? Why aren’t you putting your data into public repositories? Why aren’t you creating a video protocol using Jove?” I think it’s time for the scientific community at large to start asking themselves these questions. But more importantly, it is time for the scientific community to act. Scientists need to start cleaning their own house. We do not have to wait for the journals to allow us to make our science more reproducible. For the good of our respective fields, we should be doing this now. If you don’t like these venues, NIF would be happy to host your videos and protocols. NIF doesn’t care where something is, as long as we can link to it. And NIF will link your protocol/video/blog to your published article in Pub Med too, using our link out feature. These links are also featured in NIF literature as well. And don’t go telling us that if the journals don’t do it, then it won’t be part of the permanent record. That is undoubtedly true. But until the journals change, the materials and methods will continue to shrink. Isn’t a short term solution better than no solution at all?