Archive by date | April 2008

What the job of an editor is all about

In a comment to an earlier Peer to Peer post, ‘Regular Scientist’ takes issue with Nature Cell Biology’s definition of a good report, writing (slightly edited for length): the journal sometimes asks the authors to undertake many experiments even before sending a paper to review. Not strangely, papers in Nat Cell Biology, even small reports, contain many Supplementary Figures (up to 20, I´ve seen). I miss the old days where publications were for sending a very interesting result so you could extend it and discuss its importance for your field. Nat Cell Biology’s system is undermining research efforts in the authors´ labs, which have to dedicate an enormous effort to provide many additional experiments that don´t even add much to the concept.  Read more

Sharing insights with researchers

The two Nature Geoscience Commentaries expressing opposing views on blogging’s role in science research communication have been much discussed in the blogosphere (see Climate Feedback blog, for example.). One discussion took place at RealClimate blog, where Gavin Schmidt’s post about his Nature Geoscience view on how science blogs and traditional peer-review intersect has attracted more than 100 online comments from climate scientists and others.  Read more

Will NIH’s overhaul be cosmetic or curative?

The first phase of the NIH review of the peer-review system was completed on 28 February , when the final draft of the 2007–2008 Peer Review Self-Study was submitted to NIH (US National Institutes of Health). In advance of NIH’s announcement this Spring about the changes to be implemented, this month’s (April) Editorial in Nature Medicine (14, 351; 2008) explores whether the NIH recommendations of a major overhaul of the system are likely to be cosmetic or curative.  Read more

Role of blogs in communicating scientific knowledge

Scientists know much more about their field than is ever published in peer-reviewed journals. Blogs can be a good medium with which to disseminate this tacit knowledge, according to Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies Columbia University, and co-founder of, in a Commentary in the April issue of Nature Geoscience (1, 208; 2008). Dr Schmidt asks “why read a blog when you can go directly to the scientific literature? Unfortunately, access to new findings in the traditional way is harder than it should be. Many technical papers are behind pay-walls, which make it impractical and expensive for unaffiliated individuals to read them. More importantly, however, even when papers are freely available, they often do not provide the insight expected.”  … Read more