Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why Journal Articles Suck

Anyone who has read or tried to read scientific journal articles know that, as far as the readibility goes, they suck. One reason is that anytime an author tries to make an article interesting, the editor forces them to alter the article until it finally prosaic. The idea is to make the article sound objective, but this often hides the lack of objectivity, which can be dangerous.

I have written many journal articles, and the thing I hate the most about journal articles is that editors and reviewers enjoy their power, forcing you to alter your writing. The article has your name, but it is no longer yours. That is a travesty.

To demonstrate, see the two paragraphs below that an editor forced me to remove.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals. Legend suggests he preached to birds and settled a peace negotiation between the City of Gubbio and a man-eating wolf. Although the saint died in 1226, some Catholics continue his devotion to animals. One Catholic Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma hosts ceremonies where members can bring their pets to be blessed by the priest. When asked whether pets go to heaven, the priest replies, “You betcha,” (Harper, 2008).

At the same time and in the same state where this priest confers a blessing to dogs and cats, state legislatures are devising a referendum that would modify the state constitution to protect citizens’ right to hunt, trap, and fish. While no current barrier exists, observing the power of some animal advocacy organizations, one of the bill’s sponsors explained, “This bill gives our citizens the chance to step up and protect their rights from being stolen by people who have no respect for our traditions and values,” (Pearson, 2008). The juxtaposition of the church service for pets and the referendum to protect animal trapping illustrates the opposing animal attitudes that will continue to provide fodder to the animal welfare debate. The objective of this study is to further explore these attitudes in references to farm animals.

Harper, D. October 5, 2008. “Blessed are the animals.” Tulsa World. Section A2.

Pearson, J. October 5, 2008. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of game.” Tulsa World. Section G1.