“I guess I just view myself as a scientist”

In a world where we tend to all become over specialized to defend our own niche, it’s good to hear about people like Erez Lieberman Aiden.  This multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary thing that everybody’s talking about, do you know what I mean ? Well, this kind of people are actually doing it. Fascinating. Reminds me of Peter Lu, also at MIT.

His approach stands in stark contrast to the standard scientific career: find an area of interest and become increasingly knowledgeable about it. Instead of branching out from a central speciality, Aiden is interested in ‘interdisciplinary’ problems that cross the boundaries of different disciplines.

In a (scientific) world with such a wealth of information, the problem is indeed not to know everything, but know that the information that might make the difference for you exists. If you keep an eye on apparently disparate problem, you start seeing connexions which can actually make a great difference. And yet, there is very little place for people like this in our systems. Shame. More on his homepage.

Open access comes of age

A confirmation that authors are tired of paying to publishers. The whole article is nevertheless about the increase of open access journals, which I am not sure is a good sign. My personal experience is that I received maybe 15 invitations to publish in new, open access journals, during the past year only. The publishing fee is always the same, in the 500-1000$ range. And curiously, half of these new journals are published by the same publisher. So I tend to agree with one of the comments at the end of the article:

Unfortunately now too many open access journals are mushrooming & publishing low standard papers just by taking money


Because nearly all the must-have journals still charge subscription fees, the rise of the author-pays model actually imposes an extra expense on research funders

If you publish 5 to 10 papers a year in such journals, you clearly need to allocate some funding for it.