Free Science, Funny Science, Darwin, & Some Meta: Neuron Culture’s Top 5 for May

Howard Eisen, 1942-1987

1. The race for May’s top spot wasn’t even close: Free Science, One Paper at  a Time, my rescued feature about how too much of science is trapped in an increasingly archaic journal structure, easily drew the most hits, running well into  5 figures to become one of Neuron Culture’s Top Ten hits ever. I’m pleased to see this interest in a story that some might consider too “inside baseball.” And let me again thank Jonathan Eisen for sharing the extraordinary story of his quest to rescue his father’s papers from oblivion, which he recently brought to near-completion with it. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word on this, with extra hat tip to Boing Boing for fronting it and to Ed Yong for making it one of his Tip Jar picks for May.

2. The vagaries and travails of scientific publishing also provided the second most popular post, Science Publishes “Arsenic Life” Critiques, Game On, which took a quick first look at the official publication of both the controversial Wolfe-Simon etal paper on a Mono Lake bug and the peer-reviewed responses to it published in Science.

3. Close behind came What is Mental Illness, Jason Goldman’s sharp and nuanced review of Richard McNally’s new book of that name. Goldman, who kindly provided this as a guest post, usually brings his bloggy chops to bear at The Thoughtful Animal

4. And I’m pleased that so many are enjoying reading The One Darwin Really DID Get Wrong: Rumble at Glen Roy, which is an excerpt from my book Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. In this case, Darwin was arguing with Alex’s father, the creationist Louis Agassiz (who earlier got his own excerpt), over the meaning of some strange geology at a Scottish loch — a spat that taught both men vital lessons that come into play later in their lives and in my book.

5. And the fifth hit was Those Who Waited Get Impatient Too: or how new journo tools can get you out of old school, in which I explained how and why I published hits 1 and 4 above this month, using the opportunities of the new publishing ecosystem to compensate for some of the constrictions of the established publishing ecosystem.

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