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Why we don’t want another “Synthesis”

Overview of attention for article published in Biology Direct, October 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#12 of 582)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)

Mentioned by

4 blogs
38 tweeters
1 Google+ user


8 Dimensions

Readers on

40 Mendeley
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Why we don’t want another “Synthesis”
Published in
Biology Direct, October 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13062-017-0194-1
Pubmed ID

Arlin Stoltzfus


High-level debates in evolutionary biology often treat the Modern Synthesis as a framework of population genetics, or as an intellectual lineage with a changing distribution of beliefs. Unfortunately, these flexible notions, used to negotiate decades of innovations, are now thoroughly detached from their historical roots in the original Modern Synthesis (OMS), a falsifiable scientific theory. The OMS held that evolution can be adequately understood as a process of smooth adaptive change by shifting the frequencies of small-effect alleles at many loci simultaneously, without the direct involvement of new mutations. This shifting gene frequencies theory was designed to support a Darwinian view in which the course of evolution is governed by selection, and to exclude a mutation-driven view in which the timing and character of evolutionary change may reflect the timing and character of events of mutation. The OMS is not the foundation of current thinking, but a special case of a broader conception that includes (among other things) a mutation-driven view introduced by biochemists in the 1960s, and now widely invoked. This innovation is evident in mathematical models relating the rate of evolution directly to the rate of mutation, which emerged in 1969, and now represent a major branch of theory with many applications. In evo-devo, mutationist thinking is reflected by a concern for the "arrival of the fittest". Though evolutionary biology is not governed by any master theory, and incorporates views excluded from the OMS, the recognition of these changes has been hindered by woolly conceptions of theories, and by historical accounts, common in the evolutionary literature, that misrepresent the disputes that defined the OMS. This article was reviewed by W. Ford Doolittle, Eugene Koonin and J. Peter Gogarten.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 38 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 40 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 40 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 10 25%
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 20%
Student > Master 5 13%
Student > Bachelor 5 13%
Other 3 8%
Other 7 18%
Unknown 2 5%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 20 50%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 9 23%
Arts and Humanities 1 3%
Linguistics 1 3%
Environmental Science 1 3%
Other 4 10%
Unknown 4 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 51. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 10 June 2020.
All research outputs
of 15,882,194 outputs
Outputs from Biology Direct
of 582 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 281,198 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Biology Direct
of 2 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,882,194 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 582 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 6.8. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 281,198 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 2 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them