At any rate, Bobby Brown aside, here is what I had to say to his celebrating.
I seriously hope that not all journals go this route, and I’ll tell you why . As part of my postdoc, we did an MLST project on a common pathogen in the food industry. We managed to get strains from all over the world, from state and federal agencies, and from international organizations. In the end, the project had several hundred isolates. Where were we supposed to list them and all the supporting data (date collected, place collected, food it was isolated from, serotype, etc etc)? In the article itself? It would have taken a dozen or so pages just for that one table! And that’s not including the several phylogenetic trees we generated all of which took up an entire page. It would have been half the issue if we had incorporated it all into the text. It seemed that that was a PERFECT use of the supplementary material section. Instead of the editors taking proper control of their reviewers and authors, they’ve banished the practice altogether … bye bye baby, but at least we don’t have to worry about that bathwater any longer.I'm not the only one who thought that there were good uses for Supplementary Material, and I do think that my anecdote is one good example of why Supplementary Material needs to remain as an option. In an age where we can generate millions of base pairs of data sequence in a few short hours, but where journal issues are not increasing accordingly in size, something has to give. I know there are repositories for most data of this sort (such as GenBank for sequence and GEO for microarray data), but I think we still need the Supplemental Material option for certain descriptive elements of a manuscript.
I agree with J. Neurosci when they said that additional experiments added as Supplemental Material were allowing things to get out of hand, but as I said in my comment ... instead of cracking down on such practices, they just threw the baby out with the bathwater. If all journals take this route, things are going to get a bit hairy. I know a couple of my manuscripts, where I provide background information that would dominate a manuscript's page total if I could not include it as Supplemental Material, is descriptive in nature, and is provided as a courtesy to the reader* would have a hard time finding a place to published. So, why is it too much to ask that journals, and their editors, spend a bit more time sorting the issue out, rather than torpedoing it wholesale? I bet part of the issue is money ... it's probably no small fee to host that data in perpetuity.
*It also saves me countless emails being asked for that last bit of information which some people might hope to glean some ideas from for their own data sets, but which for me didn't factor at all in my own study.