5 responses to “Low Hanging Fruit, Salami Style”

  1. Miss MSE

    I think salami is an excellent analogy here. If you slice salami too thinly, it starts to fall to bits, and you’ll see obvious holes where things have fallen out. On the other hand, for many people, a thick slab of salami is rather unpalatable. The right sized slice is important.

    I don’t agree with breaking up a paper for the sake of more papers, but it can certainly be worthwhile to slice a paper in two ( or more) if you have two (or more) significant results you want to highlight. I have certainly encountered papers that really should have been merged with another paper from the group, but I’ve also run into papers that should have been divided up so that they could have gone into more detail in procedures and discussion.

  2. Fluxor

    Ah…theory vs. practice.

  3. Cherish The Scientist

    I have two thoughts on this. I prefer to read papers in ‘bite size chunks.’ I abhor reading the ‘super papers’ that have everything but the kitchen sink included.

    That said, I also hate reading a paper that is a reworking of another paper. I have run into too many papers like that, and it totally pisses me off. You can tell that what they’re going after in tenure padding.

    I think that if the research has an obvious conclusion from the results given, it is probably fine. If the results are ambiguous and the conclusion is that more research needs to be done, then you shouldn’t even be submitting it. If, however, the papers, while on the same topic, have little to no overlap in data (i.e. it tells its own story and doesn’t need the other papers except perhaps as background), then I think it’s probably good enough to stand on its own.

    That’s my take on it, anyway.

  4. paul hopwood

    I like the salami technique with the caveat of where there is:

    A) a point too it (not a paper for papers sake)
    B) where the further paper(s) don’t delay otherwise useful results
    C) not too thin on details

    Personally I thrive on juicy low hanging salami and I was once an RA but am now just a general pleb on t’intetwebs

  5. gasstationwithoutpumps

    Papers should be meaty. You don’t want a whole cow in there, but thin shavings off the end of a sausage are unacceptable. Papers should not be made like sausages either—pure, simple ingredients are to be preferred.