Avoid salamislicing science

One final caveat-as your search begins to uncover a variety of specialized journals, each may seem perfectly suited for reporting a different part of your data. Some studies do justify more than one report, particularly when different portions have given rise to differing messages of interest to different audiences. However, given the importance of publication in academic circles, one often can be tempted to carve clearly related aspects of a study arbitrarily into more documents than is really sensible. When all of the findings together yield a single message that can be presented in a paper of normal length for the intended journal, they belong together. There is no reasonable justification for what one writer (Lawrence, 1981) has called salami science. (We would add that salami science tends to produce baloney!)

Other ways to publish

In addition to the many new informal and formal communication channels mentioned earlier in this chapter, there have been changes in the way peer-reviewed formal research is presented. In recent years, the lag time between acceptance and appearance in primary publication has grown. A gap of one to three years now sometimes exists. For work in highly competitive leading edge areas, this is no small consideration. Variants such as research notes, short communications, and research briefs have arisen to address the need for quicker, but less comprehensive transmission of results.

Writing variants such as abstracts, transactions, conference proceedings, local bulletins, posters, newsletters, websites, and other such outlets are often viewed as commanding less prestige than classic journal articles, and thus may be considered less important to career advancement. Admittedly, they are not peer-reviewed, and can be ephemeral in nature. However, they offer much more immediate communication with fellow specialists, and can be particularly valuable in helping one stake an intellectual claim in a rapidly changing field of study

At conferences in many fields of study, the use of posters to present new research has burgeoned in recent years. See Chapter 4 for more information on this important avenue of scientific communication.

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