Andrew Jaffe writes in Physics World that "Nowadays, science (or at least physics) progresses not by sustained argument in books but by short snippets. Books serve to consolidate knowledge and present it to students or to the public."
This is sadly true, and indicative of the way in which science in particular, and academia in general, has been mechanised, and transformed from a compulsion into a career. The output of most scientific research consists, not of genuine discovery, but of modestly scoped, often irrelevant, and even straightforwardly incorrect papers published in narrowly specialised journals.
Scientists should stop writing papers, and should avoid the desire for a career in a particular discipline. There should be no desire to maximise citations, or to gain tenure in a university department. If science is a calling rather than a career, then knowledge and understanding should itself be sufficient reward. A true scientist should aim to finish life in abject loneliness and poverty.
The end product to which a true scientist should be aiming is the greatest scientific book ever written. This book will be stylishly and succinctly written with clarity and precision; it will synthesise concepts from different subjects and simultaneously solve multiple problems in disparate disciplines; it will tell an engrossing story; it will paint vivid pictures; it will cast speculative asides and footnotes like confetti through the text; it will re-cast the familiar as the unusual; it will titillate the reader, and hold him in suspense; it will defy convention; it will be a seamless blend of the lyrical and the analytical; it will integrate natural language concepts and mathematical concepts, the observational and the theoretical; and it will be as broad as it is deep. I look forward to reading it.