Outlets for hypotheses

The tale of the blog post that led to the journal article set me thinking about forums for publishing our hypotheses.

We all have ideas, some of them wild, but many based on good science, that we’ve never been able to develop as we’d like. By develop I mean validate experimentally. A chance observation in a genome sequence perhaps, or some data from an old project that was left unfinished when we changed jobs. Often we know just what needs to be done in order to confirm our idea but are unable, for whatever reason, to do so.

It would be great if these types of observation could be written up and published somewhere – perhaps it would spur someone else in the field to do the key experiment. My lazy query – as I don’t have time to survey every life sciences journal is this: are there many journals that include a “hypothesis” section for this kind of open discussion with few or no experimental results? I know that some of the Trends series have “forum” or “opinion” sections and Microbiology has a section for discussion of papers (but only those published in that journal). Perhaps the better-informed readers of my blog know of other journals with a similar section?

3 thoughts on “Outlets for hypotheses

  1. Deepak

    That’s partly what knowledge discovery is all about isn’t it. I don’t think the journal is the appropriate venue, since the discovery aspects are not that great. Maybe the scientific equivalent of 43 Things (something I have never really figured out) – a website where ideas can be written down and people can pick them up (with appropriate credit hopefully)

  2. Jean-Claude Bradley

    I think social software is an excellent vehicle for anything that doesn’t fit into the traditional journal article format and, at least for now, Google does a pretty good job of aggregating content sources. No need to centralize.

  3. nsaunders Post author

    I agree that social software (Web 2.0, blogs, whatever) is a great vehicle for discussing science.

    I was thinking more along the lines of: what are the opportunities for publishing an idea that hasn’t quite gone to completion? Sometimes you have a bunch of data and a really strong hunch about what it means – you’re pretty sure that you’re right, but have no experimental validation. I feel that there should be a “traditional” outlet for this type of work.

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