Articles tagged with: peer review
For a long time it was difficult for evolutionary biology to make sense of a (male) peacock’s tail. Clearly it is involved in courtship but the investment in growing it, and the disdvantage of carrying it around, would seem to be a disadvantage over all. The burden of the tail might be worth it for a single male if female preferences are fixed
Fisher found a solution to this problem by noting that the genes for large tails in male peacocks would tend to be carried along with the genes for …
For my holiday project I’m reading through my old blog posts and trying to track the conversations that they were part of. What is shocking, but not surprising with a little thought, is how many of my current ideas seem to spring into being almost whole in single posts. And just how old some of those posts are. At the some time there is plenty of misunderstanding and rank naivety in there as well.
The period from 2007-10 was clearly productive and febrile. The links out from my posts point to …
With major governments signalling a shift to Open Access it seems like a good time to be asking which organisations in the scholarly communications space will survive the transition. It is likely that the major current publishers will survive, although relative market share and focus is likely to change. But the biggest challenges are faced by small to medium scholarly societies that depend on journal income for their current viability. What changes are necessary for them to navigate this transition and can they survive?
There are two major strands to position of traditional publishers have taken in justifying the process by which they will make the, now inevitable, transition to a system supporting Open Access. The first of these is that the transition will cost “more money”. The exact costs are not clear but the, broadly reasonable, assumption is that there needs to be transitional funding available to support what will clearly be a mixed system over some transitional period. The argument of course is how much money and where it will come from, …
One of the things we want the Open Research Computation journal to do is bring more of the transparency and open critique that characterises the best Open Source Software development processes into the scholarly peer review process. But you can talk about changing the way peer review works and you can actively do something about. Michael Barton and Hazel Barton have taken matters into their own hands and thrown the doors completely open. They have submitted a paper to ORC and in parallel asked the community on the BioStar site how the paper and software could be improved.
So my previous post on peer review hit a nerve. Actually all of my posts on peer review hit a nerve and create massive traffic spikes and I’m still really unsure why. The strength of feeling around peer review seems out of all proportion to both its importance and indeed the extent to which people understand how it works in practice across different disciplines. Nonetheless it is an important and serious issue and one that deserves serious consideration, both blue skies thinking and applied as it were. And it is the latter I will try to do here.
I’ve been meaning for a while to write something about peer review, pre and post publication, and the somewhat bizarre attachment of research community to the traditional approaches. A news article in Nature tho, in which I am quoted seems to have really struck a nerve for many people. The context in which the quote is presented doesn’t really capture what I meant but I stand by the statement in isolation. I think there are two important things to tease out here, firstly a critical analysis of the problems and merits of peer review, and secondly a close look at how it could be improved, modified, or replaced. I think these merit separate posts so I’ll start here with the problems in our traditional approach.
Nature Publishing Group yesterday announced a new venture, very closely modelled on the success of PLoS ONE, titled Scientific Reports. Others have started to cover the details and some implications so I won’t do that here. I think there are three big issues here. What does this tell us about the state of Open Access? What are the risks and possibilities for NPG? And why oh why does NPG keep insisting on a non-commercial licence? I think those merit separate posts so here I’m just going to deal with the big issue. And I think this is really big.
I spend a lot of my time arguing that many of the problems in the research community are caused by journals. We have too many, they are an ineffective means of communicating the important bits of research, and as a filter they are inefficient and misleading. Today I am very happy to be publicly launching the call for papers for a new journal. How do I reconcile these two statements?
Last Friday I spoke at the STM Innovation Seminar in London, taking in general terms the theme I’ve been developing recently of focussing on enabling user discovery rather than providing central filtering, enabling people to act as their own gatekeeper rather than publishers taking that role on themselves. The example I used, the JACS hydride oxidation paper, wasn’t such a good example because, as a retraction, there is more detailed information available in the published retraction. Had it come a few days earlier the arsenic microbes paper, and subsequent detailed critique might well have made a better example. But both of these examples seem to be pointing towards a world in which post publication peer review is not just happening, but expected. How can publishers work to make the best of this new information and treat papers as the beginning of a story rather than its end?