Craig Loehle Scientists as a rule are very busy, conducting experiments and analysis, plotting data, giving talks, writing, and advising. However, much of their work never makes it into print. A large percentage of published abstracts never become finished papers. Drawers full of data are collected but never analyzed. This is the productivity paradox in science: Why, among professionals whose time is largely under their own control, is so much of their effort apparently wasted?

I believe we can discover the cause of this paradox if we dissect the process of producing a finished scientific product. It is rare that a scientific product is completed in one simple step of discovery. It is far more likely that many steps or stages must be completed successfully. It is not enough to have a good idea. One also must figure out how to test the concept, competently carry out the experiment, carefully record the...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!