The thing that is bugging me the most about the writing, is the whole “book report” aspect of it. 90% of the writing is making sure you’ve read and referenced 10,000 other papers on the subject. Soooo many references. I have to look up every damn paper that ever vaguely touched on my subject and make sure it is properly referenced and the data from that paper discussed and put into context of my data. And if it takes anyone longer than 10 minutes to write a paper, you can be damn sure that even MORE papers will come out that have to be integrated into your paper and properly referenced. A paper has to be over half references, as if we’re all screaming LOOK HOW MANY PAPERS I’VE READ! BEAT THAT WHY DON’T YOU!
Except one of the many dirty secrets of science is that hardly ANYONE reads all those papers they’ve referenced. What you do is read a few of the papers, and then see who THEY’VE referenced on a particular subject, and then just add that to yours. The problem is…mistakes happen.
I read an article a while back…in Science? Nature? Dammit, now I can’t find it. And hey, my school doesn’t have an online subscription to Science, isn’t THAT a kick in the pantz?
Anyway, this article revealed that most papers contain some sort of reference error, because someone way back made a mistake in referencing something, and then that mistake was carried on through more papers on the subject. Because nobody reads those references, they just copy, paste, and move on with their lives.
It only comes out that a mistake was made when some hapless grad student (hello!) has to go back and come through reference after reference to figure out how a particular strain construction was done, and finds out that the original paper referenced IS NOT THE RIGHT PAPER!
*weep* yes, that’s happened to me.
So will I buck the system and double check EVERY REFERENCE in my paper to make sure that they are all correct and all accounted for?
Hells no. I’m too lazy for that. I’m trying to at least skim most of them, anyway.