Archive by category | Ethics

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

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

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review process when their paper moves from one consortium journal to another, once the paper has been rejected or withdrawn from the first journal.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

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

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