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Michaël Bon

Biophysicist, PhD. Designer of SJS.

I spent most of my years of research at the Insti[...]

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Biophysicist, PhD. Designer of SJS.

I spent most of my years of research at the Institut de Physique Théorique - CEA Saclay, and I am specialist of all problems related to RNA secondary structure prediction (especially pseudo-knots and RNA binding proteins prediction).

As a science enthusiast, I have been very concerned with quality issues since the beginning of my career. Although the strength and reliability of science comes from its collective practice (which drives everyone to rise above their respective prejudice), the current publishing system seemed to divide people by turning them into competitors for the same slots in « reputable » journals. As a consequence, the scientific output is often self-righteous and impossible to verify or reproduce, so that it completely misses its point. After some years, I realized that the root of the problem was in fact the use of journal rank as a proxy for scientific quality, which not only is irrelevant but also creates an adversarial economy of knowledge which is so detrimental to quality. There are also collateral damage such as lack of Open Access, exorbitant costs and chaotic dissemination of papers that make active topics so hard to follow.

When I actually got the idea of a much better way to assess research, and one which is openly handled by the scientific community, I felt it was a moral duty to implement it and many more ideas came up in the process. SJS is the result of this. I am still bad at explaining clearly what it is, but you’ll know everything if you take time to read my two first articles of my account, or read this more informal interview :

  • SJS – The Self-Journals of Science

Michaël Bon's Self-Journal


In this issue, I selected a few items I consider good food for thoughts about the systemic flaws of today's publishing industry, and I offer some of the many reflections they inspired me. It is hard to investigate problems at systemic level. The first article I have selected is a modelization of peer review. The second is a quantitative result about peer review. The third is a blog post and a summary of concerns with the impact factor. The last is my own proposition for a system fix. I intend to release several other issues to cover this topic in a deeper way. Have a good read !

Michaël Bon
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Peer-review in a world with rational scientists: Toward selection of the average

One of the virtues of peer review is that it provides a self-regulating selection mechanism for scientific work, papers and projects. Peer review as a selection mechanism is hard to evaluate in terms of its efficiency. Serious efforts to understand its strengths and weaknesses have not yet lead to clear answers. In theory peer review works if the involved parties (editors and referees) conform to a set of requirements, such as love...

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