Tim Ikeda wrote:
> Most likely, >85% of this unpublished 90% is crap, but with search
> engines, is there now enough storage and filtering capability to locate
> gems and justify the effort? And how? Online notebooks? An E-journal of
> and Partial Results? Is there some form of editorial control and publication
> quality assurance that would work in a high-data, low information
I second your observation. For years I thought splicing
occurs for all intron dropped into splicing extract. From
the way the biology literature on the spliceosome is written,
you sure would think so. Long behold, it turns out that
long sequences don't always work. No surprise per se, but
it would be nice to know that rather than get a false
"just so" impression that biology and biochemistry textbooks
often seem to claim.
As to Howard's remark on peer review, reviewers are
able to evaluate good experimental technique. So for
example, It would be useful to know that procedures A,
B, C, etc., fail to crystallize a protein. Crystallization
procedures are known and can be assessed by a reviewer.
The information is also quite useful because it would
tell me not to use those techniques and may even be
indicative of some important function or family of
proteins I might be investigating.
I see three advantages to reports of null, incomplete,
or unsuccessful results.
(1) Knowing that a certain set of well known procedures
fail to materialize results would saves others from making
the same mistakes and would encourage them to focus their
attention on a different strategy. Hence, even if a solution
is eventually discovered, it would spare a lot of waste making
square wheels when someone already found out they don't roll.
(2) It also helps identify problems of technical interest
which can attract the attention of ambitious thinkers
who are willing to be challenged by difficult and possibly
unsolvable problems. Likewise since these problems may be
unsolvable, there are no clear "answers" and a different
kind of ingenuity is required.
(3) Finally, no result is in fact sometimes an important
result. Michelson and Morley is perhaps a good historic
by Grace we proceed,
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