Way too much of a mediocre thing

by Luigi Guarino on April 5, 2013

This post may just be too meta for most busy readers, but I just had to get the sequence right in my head, so apologies, and feel free to go and make a cup of coffee or watch the Svalbard video again instead of reading any further.

It all started with a Science paper entitled “Wild Pollinators Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of Honey Bee Abundance.” It popped up in our RSS readers here in late February, if memory serves, and we duly included it in a Brainfood in early March, together with a link to an NPR story dated 1 March and a facetious comment to the effect that it is difficult to add anything to the title. NPR did try its best, though, linking to another paper on pollinators published in Science at the same time, for example.

And there it rested, and arguably should have stayed. But then, on 27 March, SciDevNet did a story on that first Science paper, pretty much out of the blue, even highlighting the fact that it was a month old. In my opinion, it really didn’t add much to the NPR story, though it did link to another, earlier and much narrower, study by the paper’s lead author, the wonderfully named Lucas Garibaldi.

Which brings us to Mongabay. Normally totally on the ball, they waited until 3 April to publish their take on Garibaldi’s original Science paper. And really, to be honest, again they added very little to what NPR had said. Or indeed to the paper’s title, for that matter.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Garibaldi et al.’s paper is interesting and deserved a write-up. But three largely overlapping write-ups over the course of a month after publication? Well, you tell me. I know what I think.

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