One More Reason to Despise Supplemental Methods Sections

I’ve mentioned before how much I hate supplemental methods–where key parts of the methods are relegated to a secondary ‘paper’*. Because it’s not like we don’t have enough issues with reproducibility. But here’s one more reason (boldface mine):

I have a major gripe about citations – from personal experience, and I know others have suffered from the same – software we published in 2009, CORNA, was used extensively in the Zebrafinch genome paper, and was cited in the supplementary material – but pubmed and various other citation trackers do not track citations in supplementary material. Doh!

To be blunt, I find many papers interesting (or at least not dreadfully boring) because they have a novel method that I would like to use. But if our publishing format de-emphasizes methods papers by making them less cited, then there’s less reward for doing that kind of research, which the rest of us ‘real biologists’–I’m being snarky–need.

Every day, I’m more and more convinced we should dump all our stuff into ArXiv.

*: In one case, I was asked to review a ridiculously large supplemental methods section. I told the editor I signed on to reviewing one paper, not three or four.

This entry was posted in Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.