Barriers to Publication

The discussion about non-professionals publishing papers rumbles on (see my last few posts and those over at SV-POW!). In the comments of a post at the latter, I made the following comment

“Reading these comments I think the real issue here is that people are hitting these barriers and not realising that actually these barriers are either not hard to breech (getting hold of papers), non-existent (not being ‘allowed’ to publish) or are only an occasional hazard (bad refereeing). In this case, what it seems we need to do is get people to realise how easy it can be to get started (if getting something finished can be really hard!).”

This seems worth repeating (in addition to various things I have said on here before). Research is just research, and while I strongly recommend some training, guidance and experience to help you, anyone can publish. Science is open to anyone and scientific publication is open to anyone. You can do it if you want to. Those barriers that you may thing exist are either not there, not what you think, or really quite minor or infrequent and something that all of us face, not just those who feel they are ‘outside’. If you want to publish you can, just do it right.

6 Responses to “Barriers to Publication”


  1. 1 Mike Taylor 11/10/2010 at 11:30 am

    To put it another way, the barriers that do exist are the REAL ones: to get published, you need to do good work, formulate credible hypotheses, test them carefully, write clear, illustrate informatively, and so on. But doing these things is the essence of doing science: they’re not arbitrary barriers posed by an exclusive elite, they are THE THING ITSELF. If getting into the scientific world is difficult, that’s just because science is hard to do. Not super-hard: people who really want to do it will find ways; but not easy. In short, the barriers that do exist are intrinsic to the enterprise itself, not imposed arbitrarily from above.

    • 2 David Hone 11/10/2010 at 11:34 am

      Yes exactly. My point was (and I hope was clear) that the barriers that seem to be holding people back are not there. They are stuck only behind their imagination. Of course yeah, they then have to do the work!

  2. 3 Zach Miller 11/10/2010 at 8:53 pm

    I think my best hope is to contribute an illustration or two to some papers written by people much smarter than me.😉

  3. 4 Mike Taylor 12/10/2010 at 11:50 am

    Zach, you know better than that. Seriously. Enough of this self-deprecatory crap, you have a paper in you and I want to see it.

  4. 5 Zach Miller 12/10/2010 at 7:28 pm

    Hmmmm…your encouragement (or is that an order?) is appreciated. I can’t say there aren’t topics I’d love to write about…perhaps I’ll take you up on this challenge!


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