Well, this actually isn’t a commentary – or if it is, it is only a brief commentary. But nonetheless, just wanted to spread the word that my friend Tatu Westling has co-authored a paper based on his previous hit on economic growth and penile length. The most recent paper can be found here.
I have only skimmed through the newest paper but so far it seems an interesting avenue of research. And, as the authors point out, the results are based only on short term findings – whether these hit papers will actually benefit other papers in the long run remains to be seen.
Of course there is the downside to these hit papers and the attention they generate that the general audience does not devote time to actually read the papers, but instead they focus on skimming through the papers. This, in the worst case, can lead to popularization of science, as researchers try to attract attention to their research by relying on attractive or sometimes even dubious headlines and titles. Although I believe this to be rather far fetched an idea.
But to conclude, I think Westling has opened up possibilities for us other reseachers. If we are able to speak to larger and broader audiences, who knows what will come out of that? One thing is to look at how these smash hit papers generate attention to other papers, but equally attractive would be to study whether they generate action.