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Untitled and Anonymous Editorials And Other Forms of Provincialism

For several decades Current Contents was the vehicle I used for personal expressions of pleasure or discontent about various practices in science and scholarship. Remarkably, even after decades in some cases, not much has changed since I first voiced an opinion on subjects such as anonymity.1 One of my pet grievances with scientific and other publications has been the implied use of the editorial "we" and its expression in the form of anonymous editorials. Whether in Nature or the New York Tim

Eugene Garfield

For several decades Current Contents was the vehicle I used for personal expressions of pleasure or discontent about various practices in science and scholarship. Remarkably, even after decades in some cases, not much has changed since I first voiced an opinion on subjects such as anonymity.1

One of my pet grievances with scientific and other publications has been the implied use of the editorial "we" and its expression in the form of anonymous editorials. Whether in Nature or the New York Times we all know that an individual wrote those unsigned comments. But especially in the British science press--for example, the New Scientist-- the unsigned, anonymous editorial is used to add authority to the views expressed. Indeed, I cringe whenever one of our own staff writers or freelancers says that so and so "told The Scientist" this or that. Give me a break. He told the reporter--someone with a...

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