2015-03-26

Microblogs will not become a source of scientific knowledge

This is the contribution I submitted to the newly created Journal of Brief Ideas, which defines itself as a research journal exclusively for articles of 200 words or less: 
Title: Microblogs will not become a source of scientific knowledge
The hypothesis that scientific knowledge can grow out of clearly-written ideas capsuled in 200 words with no antecedents, no references, no methods, and no results, is contradictory with the notion of science itself and therefore does not need to be refuted. However, the profusion of microblogging social networks that may be tempted to introduce DOI's as a way to make their tweets and posts citable, threatens to blur the boundaries with other sources of knowledge. Here, I expose the following brief ideas: 1) that any useful contribution to discern ideas that work from ideas that don't, will need, also in the future, enough words to describe how those ideas were tested; 2) that the routine activity of both scientists and non-scientists will tend to keep discerning the systematic, reproducible studies from bar conversations, online forums, and magically-revealed knowledge; and 3) that consequently the present brief, unreferenced publication will get no credit, even if it turns out to be the first to correctly predict the fail of short unreferenced notes as a source of scientific knowledge. And yet, my last 20 available words call for further transgressive ideas for this field, scientific publishing, that will be hardly recognisable in a decade.

Sadly enough, the editors have not accepted this 'article' for their 'beta journal', on the basis of a lack of a scientific advance in the field:
And I fully agree with their point. All they will attract is ideas, hypotheses, opinions; Scientific advance is much more than that and it will not be achieved in the format proposed. And to be consistent, the Journal of Brief Ideas should either ban most of the contributions they receive (like this) or stop calling itself a scientific journal. It is the reputation of the scientific method (slippery as this can be) that is at risk.