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You know, these days, we shouldn't have the concept of a blog or paper being published. It should be collaborative effort.

The initial post should be a comment period where you ask for feedback and no matter how large your mistake, it should be considered okay.

And slowly as you get more eyes on it, it should solidify into a more accepted paper.

I think an open system along these lines would result in too poor signal to noise ratio. There are far more people willing to engage in bikeshedding than people with the expertise, interest, time and funding to make valuable contributions.

Today's system is already collaborative. It is precisely those people with the expertise, interest, time and funding in a particular problem that co-author the papers. Then there is the review process to provide feedback and spot the serious mistakes and problems with the papers. After which, for significant works, there are follow up papers by various authors to expand, refute or clarify the original work.

A large part of science drives on ego, the process you describe would reduce that considerably. 'Publish or perish' works if there are a very small number of authors at the top of a paper.

I think you can have both -- keep a record of who made what suggestion when and which got merged into what branch on whose approval. Wiki/git-style tools already do (most of) this.

In fact, that makes ego validation easier: "I contributed these insights, reviewed these contributions, and received these upvotes/contribution acceptances."

The same way open source projects don't afford their collaborators any fame or recognition? Publish or perish still works as long as the history of contributions is clear (which seems like a requirement for a variety of reasons).

I know several open source projects first hand where the founder gets all the recognition while most of the valuable parts were written by others.

Of course you can see the contributions in the VCS history, but that doesn't translate to public recognition.

Great, let's change that. Letting ego drive everything does not seem like a good idea.

Dude, how will science progress without ego? That's like trying to remove greed from business. The remainder might have higher quality than what we have now, but the quantity would be tiny.

It's not like scientists are in it for the money...

Okay, let me know when you get us all to be robotic science-proving automatons.

Yeah, because such things as human nature we can just go ahead and change...

If the communists could do it, we can to! Oh wait....

Different specialties have different authorship cultures; it is trivial to demonstrate that science goes on (in physics, no less!) when papers are headed by many, many authors.


> small number of authors

Have you seen papers in particle physics? Sometimes they don't fit on a single page!

arXiv.org does a better job than most at allowing resubmissions... and serving as a repository for rebuttals that might not warrant journal publications.

Lijie Chen (the student Scott mentioned) used arXiv.org's preprints for this purpose.

I think we need, first and foremost, a good mechanism which allows people to comment on papers, ask questions, and (for authors) add errata.

Right now, there are websites which allow people to discuss papers, but the problem is that a paper has no "home", so the discussion takes place on different sites, and therefore gets watered down. I guess we need to agree on a standard.

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