Daniel Lemire's blog

, 8 min read

Trading latency for quality in research

10 thoughts on “Trading latency for quality in research”

  1. Jo Vermeulen says:

    Great initiative, I’m curious to see how it works out!

    W.r.t. to plagiarism: I don’t think direct plagiarism will be a problem, as it is will be obvious that the ideas were published here first. There’s no problem with arXiv pre-prints either. Besides, the readers of this blog are your witnesses 🙂

  2. @Jonathan

    That’s a good point.

    But I think that it is not a problem if you are the primary author of the paper in question and you are willing to share the credit.

    But, yeah, I expect to have to think this through some more as I do it.

  3. Harisankar H says:

    Cool. would like to see about the result.
    But what about the risk of plagarism of unpublished works ?

  4. Itman says:

    Hi Daniel, it is a good idea,
    I think that you could also crosspost to
    PS: I don’t think palgiarism would be a problem. No decent scientist would publish somebody else’s paper. Besides, if it is an experimental one, you need software to reproduce results. That is you can be easily caught and banned from the scientific community.

  5. Jonathan Katz says:

    One thing to consider is what happens if a paper is improved substantially by comments on the blog. This could also result in 20-author papers. Not necessarily a bad thing for science, but something to think about.

  6. Itman says:

    Though I would share some of your concern, but … reviewers do improve the quality of the paper and often considerably, but that does not make them co-authors. The primary goal of such an exposure is to find errors.

  7. @Geoff Several papers have been written using wikis and blogs. See for example:


    I’m not sure it has been wildly successful yet, but we are still at the early stages.

    And I would certainly participate in such a project if I found one that was a good match for my research interests. And I hope I will one day.

  8. @Itman What about indecent scientists?

    Has there been attempts at authoring a paper using something like a wiki, or is that maybe going too far?

    Regardless, I’m all for this experiment.

  9. Joao Bosco says:

    The problem is that sometimes people are “measured” for the quantity of papers they publish. Specially here in Brazil, where the number of papers you write can change the salary you get.

    That is why we sometimes have lots of bad quality works here …

  10. Marc Couture says:

    The Polymath project relied mainly on blogs, much like what Daniel proposes; for details, see the October 2009 Nature article by Tim Gowers and Michael Nielsen, the two main players in the project. In that sense, it was not exactly collaborative writing: someone had to put together all the pieces and actually write the paper.Authorship was one of the issues in the project; see Is massively collaborative mathematics possible on Tim Gower’s blog. The first paper produced through this project, which is still at the preprint stage, uses a pseudonym, D.H.J. Polymath, without giving the name of any of the 27 contributors. Even if it’s technically possible to evaluate individual contributions (espectially if a wiki is used instead of blogs), one can easily understand that this collaboration mode could be deemed inappropriate by many (especially junior researchers) in the “publish or perish” culture.

    A different so-called “next-generation” wiki (see http://mememoir.org), which “links every word to its corresponding author” has been proposed to address this issue. It seems to have been used only in one project, called wikigenes, which doesn’t aim at producing scientific papers. Thus, to my knowlodge, we have still to see an example of an entirely wiki-based collaborative production of a scientific paper, starting from scratch.