Note to all: this is satire... As Marcia McNutt says below, please see
Science Magazine's Contributors FAQ for more
Recently I had some conversations with Science Magazine about preprints, and when they're
counted as double publication (see: Ingelfinger Rule). Now, Science has
an enlightened preprint policy:
...we do allow posting of research papers on not-for-profit
preprint servers such as arxiv.org. Please contact the editors
with questions regarding allowable postings.
but details are not provided. Now, on Facebook and elsewhere I've seen
people be confused about whether (for example) posting a preprint and
then discussing it counts as "distribution" -- here, Science muddies the
waters by saying,
Distribution on the Internet may be considered prior publication
and may compromise the originality of the paper as a submission to
(followed by the previous quote).
So, spurred by some recent questions along this vein that a friend
asked on Facebook, I followed up with Science. I asked the editors a
broad set of questions about when preprints could be publicized on
blogs, via Twitter, or on social media sites such as Facebook. Here
is their response, which I think provides a valuable and specific set
of guidelines for us.
Dear Dr. Brown,
thank you for your detailed questions. In our role as guardians of
the veracity and impact of scientific literature, we have long been
concerned about how to minimize pre-publication dissemination of
scientific information, and we are happy to communicate our
deliberations and decisions for you.
We do allow posting to preprint servers, as explicitly noted in our
policy. This is to preserve scholarly communication while making sure
that the public are not exposed to research conclusions unvalidated by
peer review. However, as the line between journalism and Internet
opining continues to blur, we are concerned that non-scientists may
occasionally be exposed to incorrect research conclusions through
discussion of these preprints on the World Wide Web and social media.
We have therefore developed the following guidelines:
First, any researcher (any member of the team) may discuss their
preprint in a blog post, as long as their blog is not read by more
than 1,000 unique visitors in any given 30-day period.
Second, researchers may convey these preprints to others via e-mail or
Facebook. We have designated an upper limit of dissemination to 25
researchers (via e-mail) or 150 "friends" (via Facebook).
Third, a blog post and/or a link to the preprint may be publicized
via Twitter or other social media Web sites, as long as it is not
"reblogged" (via retweet) to more than 5,000 total individuals or
acknowledged (e.g. "favorited") by more than 150.
We believe that these numbers provide a fair and equitable balance
between protecting the scientific literature from undue dissemination
of research results, and allowing scientists to discuss their work
with friends. We hope you agree.
Please note that we have contracted with the National Security Agency
as part of their new Freedom and Liberty Outreach Program to make sure
these dissemination limits are observed. We continue to reserve the
right to reject any paper with or without consideration for any
reason, including when researchers violate these limits.
[ redacted ]
They've said they welcome feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, so
please go ahead and send them your thoughts.
There are comments.