Tag Archives: Peer reviews

I call bullshit on pointless ‘hope labour’

I call bullshit on pointless ‘hope labour’

About 30% of my work week is classified as ‘service’: work that supports others in the community, such as sitting on committees, writing reviews and references, consulting on problems and so on. As a result of this higher than usual level of service work, the sheer number and range of things I do in a […] … learn more→

Bland peer review needs a pinch of salt

Bland peer review needs a pinch of salt

Research funding agencies face a daunting task when deciding which proposed research project to fund. It takes a great deal of expertise to distinguish between what investor Warren Buffett once called the “three I’s”: innovators, imitators and idiots. The anonymous peer review system that has emerged as the universal and unquestioned tool for assessing research […] … learn more→

‘Unfortunately, our referees are not up to the job’

‘Unfortunately, our referees are not up to the job’

Summer. Time for a travail guide. Peer review – the inescapable destination of academics’ intellectual progeny at vacation time – is an inhospitable shore: its beaches mine-strewn, its entertainments dubious, its climate dodgy, its sights depressingly familiar, its pleasant surprises few. Its inhabitants speak an impenetrable argot and often respond, when visitors make honest efforts […] … learn more→

What did that peer reviewer actually mean?

What did that peer reviewer actually mean?

We all know that real estate agents write in code. Renovation potential means it’s a dump. First home buyer’s dream means it’s a dump. Original condition means it’s a dump. Now, journal reviewers have codes too. You may find that sometimes you get reviews where it isn’t immediately obvious what you are being asked to […] … learn more→

Peer review is in crisis, but should be fixed, not abolished

Peer review is in crisis, but should be fixed, not abolished

This year three Nobel Prize-winning biologists broke with tradition and published their research directly on the internet as so-called preprints. Their motivation? Saving time. Traditionally, scientific studies are published in peer-reviewed journals, which require other scientists to evaluate submitted research to determine its soundness for publication. Peer review is supposed to be a good thing, […] … learn more→

How to remove bias from peer review

The ugly side of peer review was on full display last week when a scientific paper was rejected for reasons that smacked of sexism. Two female authors had submitted a paper to a journal that is part of the open-access PLOS family. A negative decision was made based on a single review stating, “It would […] … learn more→

Reviewing a journal article – are you Jekyll or Hyde?

So you’ve been sent a paper to review. Before you even start thinking about what to do, and before you start thinking about reading beyond the abstract, it’s a good idea to check the stance you are about to take. As an editor I see a lot of reviews. Many of them are productive and […] … learn more→

Just your initials, please! Subverting sexist biases in peer-review

Recently I posted a column about the rather embarrassing fuss some people made when they discovered the phenomenally successful Facebook page “I Fucking Love Science” is created and curated by a woman, Elise Andrew. This fired a couple of interesting discussions. One of the tweets I received about this came from Sydney University astronomer, science […] … learn more→

Peer review isn’t perfect … and the media doesn’t always help

Peer review is an essential part of science. Journal editors recruit scientists to provide expert opinion on manuscripts submitted by other scientists. Reviewers are expected to identify major errors and determine if an article presents new and significant science. And while peer review is essential, it can fail. Peer review prevents many, but not all, […] … learn more→