Archive by category | Systems

No demonstrated gender bias in double-blind peer review

The Editorial ‘Working double-blind’ (Nature 451, 605–606; 2008), also republished on this blog and stimulating more than 70 comments, referred to a study (1) that found more female first-author papers were published using a double-blind, rather than a single-blind, peer-review system. The data reported in ref. 1 have now been re-examined (2). The conclusion of ref. 1, that Behavioral Ecology published more papers with female first authors after switching to a double-blind peer-review system, is not in dispute. However, ref. 2 reports that other similar ecology journals that have single-blind peer-review systems also increased in female first-author papers over the same time period.  Read more

Stem Cell paper and Insights are open for scrutiny

In the latest Nature Reports Stem Cells Inside the Paper feature, senior Nature editor Natalie DeWitt discusses the paper by H. H. Chang et al. ‘Transcriptome-wide noise controls lineage choice in mammalian progenitor cells’, published in Nature 453, 544-547 (2008).  Read more

Nature Neuroscience joins neuroscience peer-review consortium

Nature Neuroscience is joining a consortium of journals that enables reviews to be transferred from one journal to another, while allowing authors, referees and editors to control their degree of participation in the system flexibly. The reasons for the decision are explained in this month’s (April) Editorial (Nat. Neurosci. 11, 375; 2008). Briefly, in January, a group of editors, supported by the Society for Neuroscience, implemented a system for transfer of submitted manuscripts between journals that allows voluntary participation by authors, referees and editors, known as the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. This consortium reduces the overall reviewing workload of the community by allowing authors to continue the initial review process when their paper moves from one consortium journal to another, once the paper has been rejected or withdrawn from the first journal.  Read more

Open review at Scholarly Research Exchange

The newly launched journal Scholarly Research Exchange, published by Hindawi, is for original research articles in all areas of science, technology and medicine. The journal is operating a transparent peer-review system, in which authors and reviewers interact directly throughout the peer-review process. Authors submitting to Scholarly Research Exchange suggest potential reviewers, who are then approved by the journal’s editors. Reviewers are asked to provide an assessment of the quality of the manuscript, a written critique for the authors, and a written commentary for the journal’s readers. When the journal accepts its first articles for publication, the reviewers’ commentaries and their assessment of the manuscript’s quality will be published with them. In addition to these reviewers’ evaluations, members of the scientific community will be able to participate in a discussion around every manuscript.  Read more

Nature Nanotechnology on reviewer performance statistics

How many papers does the typical researcher review in a year? How long do they take? And why do they do it? For the answers, read the Editorial in this month’s (March) issue of Nature Nanotechnology, “Who’d be a referee?” (3, 119; 2008). The Editorial reports some of the findings of the recent Publishing Research Consortium report on peer-review (previously discussed at Peer to Peer), whose survey revealed that the “average review takes about 8.6 hours (with a median of about 5 hours) and is completed within 3–4 weeks, although there are significant differences between the four broad subject areas covered by the survey: in the physical sciences and engineering, for instance, the average (mean) is 10.4 hours, compared with 6.3 for clinical researchers.  Read more

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