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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« XMRV: It's Ugly, But That's Science | Main | Gassing Your Crystals »

January 11, 2011

The Life of a Paper

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Posted by Derek

Angewandte Chemie recently ran a behind-the-scenes article about their journal, with several interesting bits of information. For one thing, they've gotten a lot more selective over the years, as the number of submissions has gone up. They publish many more papers, total, than they used to, but reject a much higher fraction at the same time. (I've added to that total myself a couple of times!).

Mind you, there are times when that rejection rate should have been even a bit higher, but as you might guess, the article doesn't bring up those awkward moments. There's no insight into the vile puns and other pop-culture references that continue to infest their abstracts, either. Can't have everything.

But I found this chart interesting. These are the download statistics for a particular (unspecified) communication in the journal over time. (Note that they've scrubbed the units on the Y-axis, the wimps).
Ang%20Chem%20usage%20chart.png
This confirms what most scientists have figured, that your paper has a brief window to be noticed, and then back in the pile it goes. Back to the background rate, with people coming across it in literature searches once in a while.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


COMMENTS

1. road on January 11, 2011 2:07 PM writes...

It would be fantastic if journals would let you see a chart like this for each paper. Or at least for your own papers...

Maybe PLoS could lead the way?

Permalink to Comment

2. Curt F. on January 11, 2011 10:24 PM writes...

They truncate the time series at 121 days, but I wonder what it would look like if continued out to say 3000 days.

Would the sum of downloads from say day 60 to day 3000 be greater than or less than the sum of downloads from day 1 to day 59? When journal editors choose papers, are they biased towards choosing papers that have the highest *overall* downloads or towards papers that have the highest downloads in days 1 to 59? Even if they are biased one way or the other, does it matter? Do they have skill enough to affect the final distribution?

I bet the results for less prestigious journals than Angewandte average papers settle into the "background" rate of being downloaded more quickly than this particular one did.

Permalink to Comment

3. Anonymous on January 11, 2011 11:20 PM writes...

papers now are like tweets. Short and mostly useless. Stop requiring X papers and stop publishing crap.

Permalink to Comment

4. Anon the second on January 11, 2011 11:30 PM writes...

I agree with #3.

Wish I could see the download stats of a paper that is highlighted by In the Pipeline.

Permalink to Comment

5. anchor on January 12, 2011 10:05 AM writes...


more on Sitris, and ...Doubt on Anti-Aging Molecule as Drug Trial Stops...read all in NY times science section

Permalink to Comment

6. edeast on January 12, 2011 10:40 AM writes...

Any thoughts on Lithium? Some economists are, debating the merits of drugging the population to reduce murders.

Permalink to Comment

7. InfMP on January 13, 2011 9:56 AM writes...

I had an angew a few weeks ago and the spike was there because googling my name, it skyrocketed past all my other publications to the top result and then several days later, my linkin profile was the top hit right next to it.

Permalink to Comment

8. Bart on January 17, 2011 1:35 AM writes...

But isn't this a normal trend? Once a paper is out, it is downloaded as pdf and stored? Most people only need to download the paper once and then archive it.

On top of that, when PIs download a paper that is of high significance and send it via email to their entire lab for reading, those 10+ lab members read the article, but do not download it. Do that for say 100 labs, that is already a 1000+ downloads less.

Permalink to Comment

9. Bart on January 17, 2011 1:36 AM writes...

But isn't this a normal trend? Once a paper is out, it is downloaded as pdf and stored? Most people only need to download the paper once and then archive it.

On top of that, when PIs download a paper that is of high significance and send it via email to their entire lab for reading, those 10+ lab members read the article, but do not download it. Do that for say 100 labs, that is already a 1000+ downloads less.

Permalink to Comment

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