Academia once more this week, thanks to Information Culture (where you can find more of course!).
…not only is the form of the scientific paper highly ritualized and artificial, but so is published ‘criticism’, for if criticism were aired in the journals as it actually occurs in the lab, its frequency and nature, and hence that of negational citations, would be quite different from what ultimately appears in print.
And that’s true that there often is less drama when things are put down with a
pen keyboard, and published. But then, even at symposia and likes people do not speak out too loud without softening bitterness with a lot of diplomacy. Often bad theories are simply ignored, or, say, laughed under the coat. Probably because among peers, collateral damage of unpleasant speak may include bad reviews. It’s a terrifying perspective sometimes. (An example from a different situation:) I remember a really bad manuscript I decided to reject, just to have mine rejected without substantific argument, just for the sake of having rejected a bad paper (I was unfortunately easily spotted as the reviewer, given too few people in that research area, and French writing is unmistakeable). This happens when one looses sight about peer review, that there’s nothing personal actually, just bad work that requires improvement.
Amazingly, or not so much depending on your perspective, the only really negative remarks I’ve noted so far are more along the lines of bashing students. That, I find easy, especially when it’s done by famous scientists. What’s the risk? Almost none. You’d better not be too sensitive as a science student. But say…