Some thoughts on my ideal publication system.

Two common users of the scientific literature:

Currently, the scientific literature doesn’t really satisfy either type of user:


  1. Unsurprisingly, it seems like good introductory material is more common in fields with strong industry presence since companies and researchers have a large incentive to get their team members up to speed. See, for example, deep learning or almost any practical software topic. Question for readers: is the same true in other practically relevant engineering domains in atom-space rather than bit-space? E.g. materials? ↩︎

  2. An unnecessary friction. In world where there are lots and lots of review articles, you can just cite the most relevant one as introductory material to your sub-sub-sub-sub-field and then explain which parts you are focused on improving. This might be different in a pre-paradigmatic field where there is no relevant review article. ↩︎

  3. I know that this is not realistic under the current system! ↩︎

  4. Or they decide not to return to the project, which has two costs: 1) People don’t find out what substantive facts they learned. 2) People don’t learn the meta fact that this kind of work doesn’t always go well. I’m specifically thinking of a friend who, as a seventh-year, said “My results don’t make any sense, just like no one else’s make sense. This is why no one does field work in [my field]!” ↩︎

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