What Nature Physics wants

Peer review is the cornerstone of scientific publishing. But it isn’t always clear exactly what Nature Physics expects of its referees. The journal explains in its November Editorial (5, 775; 2009). “Whatever you think about a paper, it is vital to explain to us exactly why you think it. Your colleagues among the other reviewers may disagree with your assessment, and we do not base our decisions on a show of hands. Hence detailed critiques carry more weight in informing our decisions than terse affirmations one way or the other (in most cases we would disregard the latter, regardless of who supplied it).  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

Myles Allen on planetary boundaries and peer review

As a vocal supporter of the traditional system of scientists communicating through peer-reviewed channels ( Nat. Geosci. 1, 209; 2008 and associated debate at Peer-to-Peer), I was hesitant about writing a critical Commentary on the Feature ‘A safe operating space for humanity’ by Johan Rockström et al in the 24 September issue of Nature (Nature 461, 472-475; 2009) in a non-peer-reviewed forum. The Nature and Nature Reports Climate Change editors had clearly thought through this argument: the Feature was not itself peer-reviewed, so no golden rules would be broken in publishing a series of commentaries alongside it in Nature Reports Climate Change.  Read more

NSMB speaks up for peer-reviewers

Manuscript peer reviewing is at the heart of the scientific system, but it seems that these duties are often not properly (if at all) recognized by universities, funding agencies or even the rest of the scientific community. This is the main message of the September Editorial in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, ‘The Unsung Reviewer’ (16, 899; 2009) The Editorial notes:  … Read more