One of the great things about reading research papers online these days is you don’t have to worry about getting the physical copy. It doesn’t waste paper by downloading a research report, and it is quite inexpensive to do so, and therefore it is a brilliant way for humanity to share information in the scientific endeavor. Still, time is of the essence and with more data and research material to go through it takes time, and time is critical as we have many challenges to solve in our society and civilization, that is if humanity is to succeed long-term.
Okay so let’s talk about something that’s been irking me with regard to online research papers. One thing I find fascinating is all of the fluff put into research papers, thesis, and dissertations. I am speaking about things like me acknowledgment section, where the preparer spends a good 1 1/2 to 2 pages thanking everyone under the sun, their academic institution, and everyone else.
Whereas it may help increase the validity of their work, pretending to stand on the shoulders of semi-giants, I also believe that these acknowledgment sections in research papers belong in the very back after all of the bibliography, references, and research data. I’m talking about the very last page of the research paper. Why you ask?
Because science is not supposed to be an endeavor of self-aggrandizement, or promoting oneself or one’s academic friends, it is about the research, not about the people. It is about the validity of the observations and findings. Further, because time is money, and time is wasted in reading all the acknowledgments, and because it takes a long time to scroll down the page, these things do not belong in the front of the research papers. It is aggravating to have to skip down 10 pages of nonsense, such as a notation that; “this page left intentionally blank” for instance, just to get to what you are looking for.
Perhaps we should also realize that our society is changing, people have less patience, and they want their information in 140 characters or less. When we search things online, we want the information now, we want it to be free, and we want exactly what we’re looking for. We need better search algorithms to give us that information, but we also need researchers and those that prepare the information to realize these facts. No one has time to listen to all that dribble, all that puffery, and all that ass-kissing.
Besides that, we know that the acknowledgment section is really put forth to maintain an academic elite club, one which may not be deserved on the far out niche of that science tree, we don’t need any more “leaf masters” as one of my research friends likes to call them. Please consider all this and think on it.