A scientific paper with 5000 authors is absurd, but does science need “papers” at all? | In the Dark

Dzisiejsza nauka pełna jest absurdów. Wszyscy muszą gonić za indeksami Hirsha, cytowaniami i liczbą publikacji co, w efekcie, prowadzi do idiotyzmów.

Nature News has reported on what appears to be the paper with the longest author list on record. This article has so many authors – 5,154 altogether – that 24 pages (out of a total of 33 in the paper) are devoted just to listing them, and only 9 to the actual science. Not, surprisingly the field concerned is experimental particle physics and the paper emanates from the Large Hadron Collider; it involves combining data from the CMS and ATLAS detectors to estimate the mass of the Higgs Boson. In my own fields of astronomy and cosmology, large consortia such as the Planck collaboration are becoming the exception rather than the rule for observational work. Large ollaborations  have achieved great things not only in physics and astronomy but also in other fields. A for  paper in genomics with over a thousand authors has recently been published and the trend for ever-increasing size of collaboration seems set to continue.

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