Neil Saunders, blogger at What You're Doing is Rather Desperate, posted a photo to his Twitter account last week with the newspaper-style headline style caption: "Findings Increasingly Novel, Scientists Say," which he says is meant to be a "tongue-in-cheek" look at the use of the word "novel" in the titles of papers indexed in PubMed. Saunders, a statistical bioinformatician, took his analysis a step further and built code "using a little Ruby and R," to search for and retrieve more than 143,000 PubMed-indexed articles in which the title contains "novel." From there, he "load[ed] the tab-delimited output file into R for some simple plotting." The blogger points out a "steady, post-World War II increase in total ["novel"] publications," wherein "the exponential increase in 'novel' findings looks like it begins in the early 1980s …increasing more sharply around 1995," he writes. In 2009, about 6 percent of the reports published were "novel," according to Saunder, who adds — with an apparent touch of sarcasm — "Exciting times."
'Findings Increasingly Novel, Scientists Say'
Nov 03, 2010