When you spend more time reading a paper's supplemental data than you do reading the paper itself, it's time to rethink the concept of supplements, says Mike the Mad Biologist. Mike points to an argument by Scicurious who says that current journal requirements like short page or word limits or reviewers that demand extra experiments make supplemental data necessary to get one's papers published. But, Scicurious asks, whether are any of these journal requirements necessary to publishing good science and she decides that they are not. Doing away with all the supplements would mean journals and reviewers would have to ask for "tighter stories" and think carefully before asking for extra experiments that don't have much to do with the study, Scicurious adds. Mike says ultimately, it's not up to the journals to decide whether supplemental sections are necessary, but up to the researchers. There are two options, he adds: Don't review for or publish in journals that have supplemental sections, and if you do review a paper with supplemental sections, make your grade contingent on whether the pertinent supplemental info can be added to the paper and the rest, cut. "There's no reason to subject ourselves to this, and we can do something about it," he adds.
See the Supplement
Oct 25, 2010