Archive by date | January 2008

Searching for duplicate publication

Much attention is being given to a Commentary in the current issue of Nature (Nature 451, 379-399; 2008), A tale of two citations, some of which I have attempted to encapsulate in this Nautilus post, for those interested. Although the issues immediately concern a possible increase in duplicate publication and plagiarism, as detected by software systems and database searches, peer reviewers are an integral part of the check/balance procedures that journals use. For this reason, I thought it well worth highlighting here the comment by Brian Derby at the Nature Network forum currently discussing these questions. Part of Dr Derby’s response:  … Read more

Researchers like the peer-review system

The Publishing Research Consortium publishes a study this month (January 2008) in whch more than 3,000 senior authors, reviewers and editors were asked about the peer-review system. The conclusions are that researchers want to “improve, not change, the system of peer review for journal articles”. According to the report, a summary of which is available (1.7 MB; PDF), more than 93 per cent of respondents believe that peer review is necessary, and more than 85 per cent say that it helps to improve scientific communications and increases the overall quality of published papers.  Read more

Double-blind peer review reveals gender bias

Double-blind peer review, in which neither author nor reviewer identity are revealed, was introduced by the journal Behavioral Ecology in 2001. Amber E. Budden et al., in an article published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution this month (Trends Ecol. Evol. 23, 4-6; 2008) report “a significant increase in female first-authored papers” compared with a similar journal, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. From the authors’ conclusions:  … Read more

Scientific American’s open web experiment

Scientific American is undertaking a social web experiment in its article Science 2.0: Great New Tool, or Great Risk?, by M. Mitchell Waldrop (article dated 9 January 2008). The article addresses whether wikis, blogs and other collaborative web technologies are the start of a “new era of science”. The article itself, however, is a draft: not yet formally published in the magazine, the author encourages readers to comment on it before he revises it for final publication.  Read more