Duty Calls, Science

Novelty is overrated, insight should rule.

When I started my PI career, my first cover letter to a glamour journal emphatically pointed out that my cutting-edge, ground-breaking work was the first and firstest to do X.

Feedback from senior colleagues was: “Drop that blech! Better say what your insight into X actually is, and in what way it is profound.” — Good advice. Because novelty is overrated, insight rules.

How should novelty be valued in science? Not exclusively.

So I wasn’t too surprised how Barak Cohen answered the question “How should novelty be valued in science?” in the last issue of eLife. I would never put a question mark into a title, if the answer isĀ  so clear:

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The sociology of bioinformatics – Or: The Watchers are among us!

Superheroes like Mr Fantastic are used to being watched, and bioinformaticians betterĀ  get used to it, too. Like superheroes, bioinformaticians are adored by the public for their powers as well as their dress sense. And while superheroes have their own Superbeing watching from the moon (Uatu the Watcher), bioinformaticians have their own tribe of sociologists stalking them, as a recent insider report has revealed.

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