In his letter to The Scientist, (Oct. 16, 1989, page 15) in response to my essay, "The Journal Glut" (The Scientist, July 10, 1989, page 11), Allan Wittman correctly recognizes that much of the original essay was written tongue-in-cheek. But humor is frequently only a funny way of being serious.

Wittman says the proliferation of scientific journals represents both an increase in scientific information and the essential need for scientists to know what other scientists are doing. In fact, approximately three fourths of the papers published in legitimate scientific journals receive less than half a dozen citations in the first 10 years after publication. What can we conclude from this? Perhaps most of those papers should not have been published in the first place.

Many of these "noncited" papers amount to little more than filling up blank spaces in tables of data; they should be recognized as...

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