Archive by date | December 2005

Double-blind peer review?

Here’s a question I’ve heard a few times: why don’t we at NN, or any of the Nature journals, strip the author names off a manuscript before sending it out to peer review? This process, where not only the referees remain anonymous to the authors, but where also the authors might remain anonymous to the referees, is termed “double-blind peer review”, and is practiced by some specialized biomedical journals. Recently, a group of young scientists published a plea to adopt “DBPR”. A 1990 study published in JAMA concluded that DBPR improved the outcome of peer review; nevertheless JAMA itself has not adopted DBPR.  Read more

No new NN papers yet this week

We normally publish new papers online every Sunday, but none have gone up this week. Like the interruption to the blog over the weekend, this is because of our office move. We were planning to get new papers up today, but now we’re tripped up by the strike that’s shuttered the New York City public transit system – we cannot even get to our new office!  Read more

A sad week for stem cell research

I must admit I’m in “shock and awe” over the slow-motion implosion of the stem cell breakthroughs reported just months ago by Woo Suk Hwang’s lab in South Korea, and their collaborators. At this point, it seems nobody really understands what exactly went wrong, and certainly nobody knows if any part of the group’ s landmark May 2005 Science paper will stand.  Read more

Natural or synthetic?

Neurons in visual cortex respond to all kinds of stimuli – spots, bars, gratings, noise, and photographs of supermodels. Are natural stimuli such as photographs better for figuring out how the visual system works than synthetic stimuli? The computation and systems focus features a pair of Perspectives taking separate sides of this debate. Gidon Felsen and Yang Dan present the benefits of natural stimuli , countered by Nicole Rust and Tony Movshon.  Read more