A timely call to overhaul how scientists publish supplementary material [Link]

Great new editorial piece in BMC Bioinformatics by Mihai Pop and Steven Salzberg that tackles a subject that people probably don't think about too much:

They highlight some of the problems that arise from the growing trend in some journals to publish very short articles that are accompanied by extremely lengthy supplementary material. They single out a few particularly lop-sided papers — including a 6-page article that has 165 pages of supplementary material — and make some solid observations about why this facet of publishing has become problem. Perhaps most importantly, citations that are buried in supplementary material do not get tracked by citation indices.

They conclude the paper with a proposal:

The ubiquitous use of electronic media in modern scientific publishing provides an opportunity for the better integration of supplementary material with the primary article. Specifically, we propose that supplementary items, irrespective of format, be directly hyper-linked from the text itself. Such references should be to specific sections of the supplementary material rather than the full supplementary text.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!