Fabrication and plagiarism are the unforgivable curses of science – crimes of no return. If you are caught committing them you will not wind up in an academic Azkaban but you would be hard put to find a new job in a university as a parking warden, much less a research role.
As an astrophysicist, I hope that the TMT will be built – it is an astonishing instrument, big enough to catch the the light from the first generation of stars to be born after the Big Bang, and sharp enough to make images of planets around other suns. However, I also hope that my community can do this without riding roughshod over a people who claim Mauna Kea as their own
So my resolution for 2015 is this: I am going to go h-free, wherever possible. I won't use it in recommendations I write, I won't cite my own h-index in my annual performance appraisals, and I will discourage comparisons of h-indices when considering candidates for promotions, appointments and prizes.
The great Russian physicist, Lev Landau used to rank physicists on a scale from 0 to 5. The better you were, the smaller your number. Newton alone was a 0, Einstein scraped in at 0.5, and founders of quantum mechanics like Bohr and Planck were 1s. Landau rated himself a 2.5 which he bumped up to a 2 after winning the Nobel Prize.
Whenever you throw a party, there is always someone who double-dips the guacamole. In this case the jerk was Ephraim Hardcastle, a pseudonymous correspondent in the Daily Mail. This nimrod thought the most important thing to say about one of the biggest science stories in 50 years was that two of the experts asked to appear on the BBC news that night were both women of colour. Hardcastle's shtick is similar to that of the old Weekly World News columnist Ed Anger -- with the difference that Anger was a conscious parody.
This week a Sausagefest of a different sort has been bouncing round the science tweetosphere: a big, international quantum chemistry conference with 29 plenary speakers and session chairs, all of whom were men.
So what gives? So far as I can tell, Elsevier hopes to negotiate blanket deals with science funding agencies and consortia of institutions to cover the cost of these journals. And I suspect many scientists will be apprehensive at the thought of Elsevier inserting themselves even more deeply into the world's scholarly infrastructure.
more importantly, the Archive has reached the point where it threatens to do to traditional journals what MP3s did to record shops, as it represents a radically new model for scientific publishing. In particle physics and astrophysics, the Archive is essentially complete -- I almost never see traditionally published papers that are not also posted to the Archive.