This weekly Nautilus column highlights some of the online discussion at Nature Network in the preceding week that is of relevance to scientists as authors and communicators. Readers are welcome to join any of these discussions by visiting the links provided. The Nature Network week column is archived here.
Jennifer Rohn explodes four myths about editors in her “belated” defence of the profession at Mind the Gap blog. Tune in to the numerous opinions (some by journal editors, some not) about whether editors are scientifically out of touch, are unable to select unbiased peer-reviewers, cannot over-rule a reviewer’s assessment, or cannot judge a submission as well as an active researcher could do. “….when I flipped through the revised manuscript personally”, writes Jennifer, “I saw that the authors – as many do – had simply lied. Yes, they had fiddled with a few words in the offending sentence, but had not addressed the underlying concern with new experimental data as requested, even though their breezy rebuttal letter certainly implied that they had. Professional editors are less likely to side automatically with authors precisely because they are not peers. They are trained to be incredibly skeptical of claims.”
Should I include my blog in my c.v.?, asks Roberto Keller. “I recently asked an adviser in the grants and fellowship department of my institution (who was slightly younger than myself) those questions. Her reply was “A blog? Oh, so you are interested in switching from research to science popularization.” Is the blog stigma that pervasive even among young people?” The ensuing discussion provides various perspectives, on behalf of employers and employees, and I think quite useful to anyone facing this question.
The Tomorrow’s Giants conference is part of an exciting week of celebrations for the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary celebrations, including an extended Summer Science Exhibition, at The Southbank Centre, London. A new Nature Network forum is an opportunity for you to contribute to the agenda by discussing the issues you feel will impact on the shape of science in the next 10-50 years. The Tomorrow’s Giants one-day conference will be held in London on Thursday 1st July 2010, co-hosted by the Royal Society and Nature, bringing together scientists and policymakers to gather scientists’ visions of the next 50 years: what is required to enable academic achievement of the highest quality, putting funding issues to one side and focusing on the concepts and practicalities? What will science be like in 10 years’ time? In 50 years? What are the main goals and challenges? What will be the vision of the future for science in 2050? Jason Codrington and colleagues look forward to your views at the Tomorrow’s Giants forum.
Matt Brown reports on Nature‘s debate earlier this week ’Racing to the Moon’, which appropriately began at exactly the same moment that the Atlantis space shuttle roared into the Florida skies, on its way to fix the Hubble Space Telescope. Read on at the London blog. Discussions on the topic continue next week (27 May) at a free event at the House of Commons, Space: Exporation and Explotation. The event is organized by the Insitute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the British Parliamentary Space Committee. Branwen Hide has the details. The next Nature debate, by the way, will be held on 8 June, and will address whether the next century will be dominated by biology, in the way that physics has dominated the past 100 years. Plenty to argue about, at The Big Science Debate: A Biological Century?
Further science-related blog reading and online discussion can be enjoyed at: