17 November 2009

Hey, PNAS?

Hey, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? (Can I call you PNAS? Thanks.) You know what really drives me crazy, as a scientist and a blogger, PNAS? Internationally-recognized journals that release scientific studies to the press before they make them available online.

Why does this make me crazy? I'm glad you asked, PNAS. It makes me crazy because sometimes I read something as batshit absurd as this gem from Wired Science:
No exact rule exists for deciding when a group of animals constitutes a separate species. That question “is rarely if ever asked,” as speciation isn’t something that scientists have been fortunate enough to watch at the precise moment of divergence ... [emphasis mine]
(Which statement is like claiming that physicists rarely ask about gravity.) And when I read something like this I'd really like to be able to go and see whether that's actually in the peer-reviewed article in question, or if it just materialized in the course of the sausage-making that is popular science journalism.

But, apparently, PNAS, you're more interested in having your results butchered by people who think biologists don't ask questions about speciation than you are in having them read by, you know, biologists. You'll forgive me, I hope, if I take that a little bit personally.

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