Don’t Be Told What You Want, Don’t Be Told What You Need

What if there were no journals? Would academic life be barren and empty, noisy and chaotic, happy and egalitarian, or something else entirely? In this episode we conduct an extended thought experiment about life without journals, in order to probe questions about what journals actually do for us anyway, what are other ways to achieve those things, and how we might overcome the downsides of the current scientific publishing ecosystem. How else could peer review work? How would researchers find information and know what to read? Would we just replace our current heuristics and biases with new ones? Plus: We answer a letter about whether to slow down to do higher-quality research or to focus on flashy results at top journals.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license. Our logo was created by Jude Weaver.

This is episode 57. It was recorded on April 17, 2019.