Archive by category | Systems

Nature Medicine peers into review

Nature Medicine peers into review

In its March Editorial, Peering into review, Nature Medicine addresses how the peer review process can be frustrating to researchers eager to get their work published. Changes to the process might be warranted, says the journal —but only if they are based in fact, not conjecture. The Editorial discusses a recent “open letter” written by a group of stem-cell researchers about what they see as obstructive and unreasonable reviews delaying publication of their research. From the Editorial: Publication of referees’ comments in full may affect the quality of the reviews, leading to more cautious and restrained comments. It is difficult  … Read more

Nature Chemistry on improving peer review

Perceived lapses in the peer-review process often receive a lot of attention, but the majority of researchers declare themselves satisfied with the system even though they would like to improve it. If it is imperfect or broken, how do we fix it? This question is addressed in the November Editorial of Nature Chemistry ( 1, 585; 2009), in light of some blog commentaries which identified prior publications that had not been referenced in a journal paper.  Read more

Websites encourage direct public funding for research

The ‘SciFlies’ project, according to a Nature news story (Nature 459, 305; 2009), will profile scientists from a range of disciplines and the new ideas they want to pursue, or ways in which they would like to expand their current research programme. Website visitors will be able to donate any amount to support the projects they find most interesting or worthwhile.  Read more

Nature Neuroscience experience with peer-review consortium

In 2008, the journal Nature Neuroscience joined a newly created community consortium aimed at making peer review more efficient by allowing reviews to be transferred between consortium journals. In its current (April) issue, the editors look back at their experience with the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium over the past year (Nature Neuroscience 12, 363; 2009).  Read more

Journal of Biology adds a twist to peer-review

The Journal of Biology (8, 1; 2009) has announced an experimental policy of allowing authors of submitted manuscripts to opt-out of re-revew on occasions where the peer-reviewers require revisions, including the addition of data. In these cases, the journal will not publish the referees’ reports with the manuscript, but instead will publish an accompanying commentary.  Read more

How to deal with technical criticisms of published work

“Scientific publishing depends on expert peer reviewers. Instead of perpetually arguing about the reliability and fairness of peer review, authors, editors and referees should seek to optimize this time-tested system.” So opens the January editorial of Nature Neuroscience (12, 1; 2009).  Read more

EMBO journal introduces transparent peer-review

Via press release, The EMBO Journal will be publishing online author and referee comments from this year (2009). “The EMBO Journal has been our flagship publication for 27 years, sharing knowledge broadly within the molecular life sciences community,” said Hermann Bujard, director of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation). “We are excited by the editorial changes that will make publication of research findings more transparent, complete and visible.”  … Read more

NIH plans to streamline processing of grant applications

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will introduce new guidelines in January 2009 allowing biomedical researchers to amend and resubmit a failed funding application only once, as part of an overhaul of the peer-review system for evaluating grant proosals (see Nature 455, 841; 2008). Applicants whose grants are unfunded after the second submission may reapply only after designing a new proposal. NIH has previously suggested not allowing resubmissions, but decided against this step after an outcry from researchers (see Nature 453, 835; 2008).  Read more

NIH responds to critics

A News story in the 12 June issue of Nature (453, 823; 2008) by Meredith Wadman: Responding to hundreds of critical comments, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reversed several controversial proposals made in February as part of a year-long effort to overhaul the agency’s peer-review system (see Nature 451, 1035; 2008). As part of an initiative called Enhancing Peer Review, announced in a finalized form on 6 June, the agency will spend at least $200 million annually over the next five years to foster groundbreaking, investigator-initiated research. Of that, at least $250 million will go to a  … Read more