Sunday, June 28, 2009


Pearls "Scientific research, like anything else, is subject to “irrational exuberance.” Fashion, fads, and hypes arrive, have their moment, and disappear from view. In the face of this inevitable ebb and flow of focus and attention, how are we to teach students the “lessons that last” or “the facts of a field” while keeping current? Likewise, how can we teach such lessons in the face of the sheer volume of research that is being published in hundreds of journals? Ostensibly, textbooks serve such a purpose, but such volumes are costly to produce and purchase and require near-constant revision. The standard “mini-review” piece tends to focus on making research recently published more accessible, but these can be too narrow or superficial to live much beyond the moment. The vision of Pearls is different. Our goal is to produce a substantial collection of short (1,500 words maximum) educational and highly useful articles that address topics of relevance and importance within the field of pathogens research. We aim to have each Pearl cover a given topic in a way that makes its significance clear and compelling to a general readership while offering accessible and accurate insight at a graduate student–level."

Interesting idea which will fail. The audience decides which are the pearls, not the editors. Not that there's anything wrong with a collection of accessible articles with a Creative Commons licence, but the grandiosity of choosing an arrogant title such as Pearls spells out why the central premise is flawed.