Progress of scientists in developing countries, specifically Latin America, is widely undervalued, but scientists from these countries should make more effort to get published in top scientific journals like Nature. Dr Milena Holmgren said yesterday, at a workshop on scientific publishing, that many scientists are too modest.
Holmgren herself is from Mexico, and having done ecological research there, believes that the Latin American countries and also western countries should acknowledge this positive process rather than being negative about the low absolute numbers of publications. Holmgren believes Latin American countries are doing a good job, especially considering the limited financial resources. ‘It is shocking to see how unevenly distributed investment in science is in the world. Eighty-four percent of global investment in science goes to western countries.’
Holmgren also has some publication advice for PhD students in Wageningen, many of whom are from developing countries. ‘Look at us Latin Americans. We tend to be too modest. We do not target top journals like Nature; instead we send our articles to Plant Ecology. But why not go for the top? Send your article to Nature, at least they send a rejection within 48 hours!’
To increase your chances of success, Holmgren advises writing articles that are to the point. ‘Latin Americans, for example, tend to make the articles too long and complicated: long sentences, and a whole list of conclusions. This makes them too boring. Select the interesting issue, and keep the rest for that book you are going to write.’ / HB