You are on page 1of 2

Metacognitive essay on scientific literature

My experience with scientific papers before I took this class was limited, I cited a few in school projects, but then I was always looking for a specific result, not the paper in general. I had also learned how to use my university’s proxy and search engine to access the different scientific journals. I had never, however, read an article because I thought it seemed interesting, simply because there seemed to be a big barrier between me and understanding the papers, and I had the general idea that reading papers was for PhD students and “real” scientists. The first thing that comes to mind that I have done in this class is that I have been exposed to scientific articles. I have also l been taught that it is possible to actually read an article, no matter the field, even if it will take more time than you expect a few pages of text will take if you read the newspaper. The provided guides on how to read articles were helpful,giving you the tools to filter out what you actually want from the article in a reasonable amount of time and preventing you from getting lost in one of the method-paragraphs in the paper. One interesting feature on the Web of Knowledge that I liked was the ability to visualize the citation tree of an article. At first I thought an article with a lot of citations might be more trustworthy, but then I realised it might not be true, I am not familiar with the scientific community but it might be that people disagree with what is said, and therefore cite it. It might still be an important article, as it raised a debate, but the conclusions made could be wrong. This is something I should probably look up. It was interesting to see the difference between reading articles we pick out by ourselves, and the ones our mentor picked out for us, it differed quite a lot in readability. The fact that there are more readable articles than others, not depending on the subject, but maybe the author, never occured to me, but I guess it is hard to avoid. I guess one hard thing about scientific literature, or rather what makes it hard to read, is the fact that you need to cram as much information as possible to a limited space, making it very hard to read if you don’t know the jargon of the field. In my opinion this can be viewed from two perspectives. On the one hand it is a way for scientist all over the world to focus on what’s new and important with their research, not wasting their time and only giving them the essentials. On the other hand one of the most basic ideas of science is that anyone should be able to repeat the experiment, and these very information dense text makes it hard for an outsider to evaluate and question. But then again, I don’t know of a better alternative. So I guess you have to assume the person trying to read your article has some basic knowledge of the field. Another interesting perspective on the big scientific journal was brought to me by Randy Schekman during an Ask Me Anything interview on reddit, where he promoted an open access scientific journal called e-life. He also called Nature 1

and arguing that they prohibit development since they do not only publish an article based on it’s scientific value. even though it was not in the form of equations.and Science luxury journals. should keeping up with the latest science be exclusive to the big and wealthy institutions? To sum things up. and I learned by doing. but also takes into account what will fit in their physical copy of the journal. Another point he makes is that they are very expensive which makes them exclusive and makes keeping track of the latest research expensive. I did learn a lot. I never had a course like this before. 2 . In my opinion this is a good point. I learned a lot.