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Question

Salami publishing refers to the practice of splitting scientific work into overly small pieces (least publishable units) and publishing a separate paper about each.

I am looking for a term for the opposite practice, i.e., lumping together a lot of or too much scientific work into one paper.

  • I prefer terms that can be understood (by a suitable audience) without further explanation. Essentially, I want something less cumbersome than opposite of salami publishing.

  • I have no strong preference regarding the tone of the term. E.g., it can be derogatory (but doesn’t need to be).

  • I am open to neologisms, but please consider the first point.

Background

This term would be useful for me to talk about the publishing culture in biology (or certain subfields thereof), where new relevant methods often do not get papers on their own, but are only published as the appendix to some paper that is primarily about findings achieved with that method.

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  • 4
    "Hot mess" as in everything is chucked in and cooked...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 4, 2018 at 9:25
  • 2
    Isn't a sausage the food where you cram as much bits and pieces as you can in an artificial intestine?
    – user9646
    Aug 4, 2018 at 11:44
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    @TobiasKildetoft I know, I was making a joke :(
    – user9646
    Aug 4, 2018 at 14:42
  • 1
    @DSVA: This is not a good place to have a debate about whether this is actually a good or a bad thing (I will ping you in chat). However, in some other fields, papers which focus on a method (which doesn’t mean no application) are pretty common and nobody would accuse them of salami publishing.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Aug 4, 2018 at 20:43
  • 2
    @EdV Ah, that explains the line in the Robert Redford movie Sneakers, 'a breakthrough of Gaussian proportions'. Jun 27, 2021 at 19:34

9 Answers 9

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I call it "kitchen sink publishing." I apply the term to papers which contain redundant methods for determining the result.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/everything_but_the_kitchen_sink

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I had a mentor who did this a lot and I referred to it as "Magnum Opus Publishing", where the objective is to have a singular publication of such heartbreaking insight and magnitude that it encapsulates an entire research question in a single work.

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  • Arguably, a "salami" publication can encapsulate an entire research question, too. The research question might be narrower in scope. Jun 28, 2021 at 13:18
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I propose smorgasbord publishing.

Merriam-Webster defines smorgasbord as:

  1. a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (such as hors d'oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)

  2. an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange

Seems appropriate.

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  • 1
    Or of course the more "original" smörgåsbord (waiting for audio samples of people trying to pronounce it...). Aug 7, 2018 at 15:08
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Disclaimer: This answer is full of tongue-in-cheek neologisms ;-)

I would like to stay in the context of food and suggest

Gluttony publishing (more derogatory)

or

Banquet publishing (less derogatory).

You could even go as far as labeling the publication itself as banquet as in the following sentence.

He has just written a banquet paper of 40 pages. He could have easily salami sliced it into 5 papers. Doesn't he know that for most grants only the number of publications counts?

A slightly different term would be a buffet paper denoting a paper that is a collection of not necessarily tightly coupled topics where everyone can pick what he likes. It can also refer to a paper that is written to suit everybody.

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  • I left mine as a comment :) but yes there are relevant terms...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 4, 2018 at 10:39
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This depends on what you mean by "opposite". If you treat "salami publishing" as an extreme, then the more ordinary case (by far) is just "publishing". It needs no adjective.

However, if you mean the opposite extreme, consider the following. Sometimes a field will have a period of intense work with a large number of (possibly) relatively small results. After that period ends or at least the rate of advancement slows, someone may decide to "consolidate" what has been recently learned in a summative paper that will have many references and a new top-level view of the field as it is then known. "Consolidation" and "Unification" are good terms for that sort of publication. Such a publication is a great resource for new researchers in the field (say, new PhD students).

However, if you require a food metaphor, try paella. Of course it is best savored in Andalusia. And I guess that if you need an explanation about why this is a good metaphor you haven't tried to make (or eat) it.

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A term with the positive connotation of completeness: All-in-one-publication.

A term with a slightly negative connotation of "good, but too much": The paper is an embarrassment of riches.

A term with a negative connotation: Overkill publication.

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I usually call these papers "book" or "tome", which conveys that they are way too long (at least when you look at the page count when the supplement(s) are included). The more technical criticism that too many things were lumped together there is kind of implicit, though. (These terms also apply only to the papers themselves, and not the publishing style.)

Edit: if you want to stay in the culinary realm, maybe "casserole publishing"?

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Would 'syncretic publishing' come close? Syncretic is generally used in religious studies to denote a mixture of different faiths/traditions in an unstructured manner. The structured version of this would be 'synthesis'.

Religious connotation aside, syncretic is a legitimate philosophical idea by itself. I haven't found an instance of it being used to describe academic publishing though.

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    Thank you for your answer, but I do not think that syncretic or synthetic would be easily understood as you intend. Without any context, the first thought that comes to my mind is that this is about an interdisciplinary paper.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Aug 4, 2018 at 11:19
  • Hmm, interdisciplinary is a fair interpretation. Hope you find something less ambiguous :) Aug 4, 2018 at 17:01
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Almost all of the other answers are better than mine, but while holistic approach doesn't work grammatically for this purpose, could holistic publishing work?

For holistric Google returns:

characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

If holistic publishing is the style that a person with a holistic approach to their research and their way of communicating and teaching and writing works for publication, then perhaps they can be said to be a holistic publisher.

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  • There is a non-zero chance you have a German cultural background. While holistic in german is seen as the google result you get, in the anglo-saxon culture holistic generally means homeopathic treatment, lunar cycles in agriculture and to cut your hair and so on...
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 29, 2021 at 9:56
  • @EarlGrey that might be the first thing that pops into their minds if presented with the word holistic in some word association game, but used in a specific context don't you think most English speaking folk will be aware that the word has more than one meaning (as words so often do) and that they should refer to the sentence in which it was used? That's how I learned English back when I was in the mid-single digits.
    – uhoh
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:10
  • I am quite sure that in a specific context there are other words than holistic to describe a complete overview of the complex system/topic under analysis and this is the reason why holistic has such a bad reputation. See for example the abstract of this paper, related to biology ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3067528 I am saying all this because a language is not what you studied in mid-single digits, it is what and how it is used by the median of the population today.
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:23
  • @EarlGrey being profoundly median myself, I feel I have a good finger on the pulse of the median population, unlike those with advanced knowledge of etymology who look down on it like so many ants the same way that entomologists look down on a colony of ents.
    – uhoh
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:33
  • You are as much median as much as humble!
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:37

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