The Specter of Scholarship Without Novel Ideas: Replication, Hyperauthorship and the Danger of Stagnation

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Two striking recent trends in discussions of scholarly publishing are, on the one hand, calls for dramatically increased emphasis on replicability as the core indicator of research quality and, on the other, listing everybody who had anything to do with a research project as an author of the project report. These trends have in common that they give at least as much weight to correct application of technical and procedural skills as to generation of novelty. Although replicability and due recognition of people’s contributions to research are highly desirable, there is a danger that both trends will lead to undervaluing the importance of ideas, especially novel, even provocative ideas, and this prospect raises the specter of a focus in knowledge production on artisanship at the expense of creativity, with resulting stagnation.

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