A recent study, described here on the Nature News Blog, suggests that the number of scientific papers doubles every 9 years. This may not be surprising to researchers struggling to keep up with new developments in their field. But aside from the stress of insurmountable reading lists, surely this accelerating accumulation of scientific outputs this is a good thing?

Maybe not. More papers does not necessarily mean more knowledge. As suggested in the blog, in an environment where we must publish or perish, there may be increasing pressure to put out new papers with limited new material, or to split up results into more than one article.

But could this pressure also have a negative effect? Pressure to write lots of easy papers rather than one important paper. Pressure to publish in journals with no time to think about what the findings mean in the real world. Maybe we all need a bit less pressure and a bit more time to think "What's really the point of this paper?"