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The Devil’s Dictionary of Publishing

News and Views

The Devil’s Dictionary of Publishing

News and Views

As Jane Austen almost said: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single researcher in possession of a good grant, must be in want of a publisher”, and while publication is the life blood of research – by ensuring the circulation of ideas it ensures the health and vitality of the body scientific – an up-to-date understanding is essential…

Abstract
Of work presented at a scientific meeting. Evidence to the granting body that you are doing the work they funded. Honestly.
Of a scientific paper. A summary of the main findings of the paper for those not sufficiently interested to read it.

Acknowledgements
A list of those who would be offended if they weren’t mentioned; alternatively of those who didn’t want to be an author.

Author
Progenitor of published research; or their boss.

Author contribution
Post hoc justification for inclusion as an author.

Citations/h-index
How you will be judged. Despite denials.

Clinical relevance
See Emperor’s new clothes.

Copyright
Something given, in lieu of your soul, to see your work published.

Cover figure
An accolade, for reasons that are unclear.

Creative commons license
Permission to abuse the work however you wish. No, we don’t understand the phrase either.

Editor
Academic acting as a conduit for documents between authors and reviewers until one or the other surrenders.

Editorial Board
A group of academics recruited by publishers to provide scientific credibility for their business.

High impact journal
A journal publishing high impact papers (q.v.).

High impact paper
A paper that provides the conclusion the field wants without considering alternatives.

Literature search or review
A visit to PubMed, downloading PDFs, and psychically absorbing their content.

Negative results
Possibly important but unpublishable waste of resources, leading to unpublishable duplication and bias in the literature, except in 
disciplines that review the study before execution, rather than the subsequent results.

New & Noteworthy
A summary of the main findings of a paper for those whose knowledge of the field or concentration span don’t stretch to the abstract.

Online publishing
A method of decreasing time to publication, increasing access and reducing costs without reducing prices.

Open Access publishing
A method of increasing access to scientific literature to the general public (most of whom aren’t interested) at a higher cost than pay-per-view, for an additional payment to the publishers (who are).

Publishing
Process by which academics provide material, reviewing and editing expertise for publication, free of charge; then pay to publish their work, which is subsequently bought by their institution for a price justified by the production of paper copies that nobody reads. 
See also Online and Open Access publishing.

Reprint/Preprint (arch.)
Paper copy of article sent to colleagues to let them know you are still here.

Review
Article- A method of increasing citations by providing a summary of the field, so that others don’t have to read original sources.
Of a manuscript- A summary of how the study and manuscript presented for publication differ from those that the reviewer (q.v.) would like 
to see.

Reviewer
Somebody so expert that they know more than the authors about the aims of the work and can therefore suggest extra experiments that slow progress by delaying publication.

Society journal
Well at least the money goes to a good cause. See Publishing.

Statistics
A discipline to which all others are subservient and whose least tenets must be obeyed.

Teleology
Not an explanation of scientific findings; frequently used as such.

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