Last week, Nature published a news item analyzing the use of the so-called "contributed" track at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (also called PNAS). For those who aren't aware, members of the National Academy of Sciences "can submit up to four papers per year to [PNAS], through the 'contributed' publication track. This unusual process allows authors to choose who will review their paper and how to respond to those reviewers' comments."
In Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff, the author makes a distinction between communications that have value as a result of being current versus communications that have value as a result of being curated, accurate and complete. You can think of one like a river - information that is constant flowing, and the other like a lake - information that is discarded when it becomes obsolete but comparatively stays quite stable over time.
I've had two discussions recently with organizations trying to implement open science-type platforms, and the conversation keeps coming back to the same thing: "How do we get people to contribute?"
I have reached a point in my academic career where there is nothing to be gained from staying any longer. I'm luckier than most: my spouse has received a teaching position in our home country and the salary is enough to support our family for a while. I've had time to plan this and I've been investing in skills beyond the lab bench. We're moving to a place with a bustling economy and low unemployment.
Even though I have known for some time now that a career in academia is not for me, blog posts about people being forced out of academia still tug at my heart strings in a way I can't quite explain.
This is a very difficult book to summarize, so I'll begin with a very specific argument the author makes, delivered completely out of context, but probably familiar to most people of my generation: