I enjoyed the article "Vigilant Science Journal Editors Fight Redundancy" (Paul McCarthy, The Scientist, March 8, 1993, page 1).

The real incentive for literature pollution, or your more polite term "literature redundancy," is the evaluation and reward system at most universities.

Administrators and colleagues still decide tenure and promotion cases largely on the basis of numbers of papers in "peer- reviewed" journals. There rarely is any consideration of the significance, the citation impact, or the redundancy of those papers. If we simply asked all retention, promotion, and tenure evaluators to consider redundancy as a negative factor in the algorithm, the problem would rapidly disappear.

There should also be an incentive for members of the community to call on the carpet colleagues who are guilty of publishing redundant papers. Perhaps newspapers like The Scientist could provide some PR and notoriety by, for example, selecting the "most redundant...

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