Re: Citation and Rejection Statistics for Eprints and Ejournals

From: Thomas Krichel <t.krichel_at_SURREY.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 20:22:59 -0500

  David Goodman writes

> There is also a difference bewteen the various fields about how much
> workjustifies a separate publication. This is sometimes called the
> LPU, "Least Publishable Unit."

  also called a publon. Physicists have researched that area (they
  are always ahead of the rest of us ;-). James Trevelyan and Peter Kovesi


Recent discoveries in the particle physics of the scientific
publication industry have confirmed some hitherto ill-defined
properties of the elusive publon particle.

Originally discovered in Oxford, according to disputed reports, the
publon is the elementary particle of scientific publication. A recent
international congress [1] agreed on a definition: "the elementary
quantum of scientific research which justifies publication". However,
the exact measurements were the subject of heated debate and no
agreement was possible.

It has long been known that publons are mutually repulsive. The
chances of finding more than one publon in a paper are negligible [2].

The recent discoveries seem to confirm suspicions that publons can
exist in more than one place simultaneously. Evidence from conferences
in the more prolific disciplines, as diverse as Artificial Neural
Networks, Cancer and AIDS research, and DNA Fingerprinting, has
confirmed that the same publon has appeared in more than one
conference or journal publication at the same time.

Even more intriguing is the apparent ability of the same publon to
manifest itself at widely separated instants in time. Once alerted to
this new property, researchers have been inundated with confirmed
reports of papers containing the same ideas separated by several years
or even decades. One reason why this has not emerged until now seems
to be that a publon can manifest itself with different words and
terminology on each occasion, thus defeating observations with even
the most powerful database scanners.

> From this, one can conclude that publons occupy a warped space-time
continuum, and thus may be the first elementary particle to be
confirmed to do so. Time travel, at least in the reverse direction, is
a possibility. Spatial and time confusion are more definite

Of perhaps most concern is the likelihood of multiple publon images,
particularly in CV's. Therefore, readers are warned to be cautious
with publication lists, and to verify the exact number of distinct
publons which give rise to the many publon images visible within the
lists. The number of publons is likely to be less than the number of
distinctly observable images, though the multiple image factor is
known to vary widely.

Researchers creating publons face the greatest difficulties arising
from this research. For their career prospects depend not so much on
the number of publons they create, as the number of images which are
apparent to their employers. While word processors have helped
enormously, drastically reducing the time needed to create publon
images, their quality is subjected to an unprecedented level of
quantitative analysis. Many believe that such quantitative analysis is
neither feasible or economically justifiable. Most seem to agree that
quality assessment requires experience of publon creation, and cannot
be left to amateurs.

[1] International Council of Scientific Unions, Working Party on
Scientific Publication, Committee on Free Circulation of Scientific
Ideas, XXV meeting, Aachen, Germany, 1991, pp 55423-87.

[2] International Standards Organization, ISO/TC 297/SC 42/WG 3 N 8/
Revision 25b/ 1981-10-32.


  Thomas Krichel
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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