Archive for April, 2011

April 1, 2011

At least the BBC still cares about rice

by farehalasker
BBC cites rice genome paper

The BBC 'cites' the rice genome sequencing paper

A recent discovery of a gene trait which allows rice to recover quickly in droughts has cited my genome sequencing paper. The BBC piece of March 4th speaks of a gene which had previously been discovered to give flood-resistance to rice as now showing the impressive recovery trait- this is important as most countries in the world that grow rice do so through extreme weather conditions. 

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April 1, 2011

The many ways a scientist can lie

by farehalasker

In a paper published in the European Journal of Oncology, Professor John Bailar discusses how he thinks that although it is not often scientists directly lie, it is a common trait to mislead. They can do this without resorting to fraud or other direct lies.

Scientific graph

False graphs and charts are not the only way scientists can lie to us

The choice of the topic of the study is a big area. Bailar uses the example of the tobacco industry- their preferred method of lying is through the use of secret research. If the secret research  shows a secondary one will not be harmful to the industry, only then are the results published.

Scientists are clever humans and know how to frame a question that will allow them to reach a pre-determined outcome. A study can also be put into the hands of a person adept at interpreting results in certain ways. Most scientists have peers that are engaged in such methods of interpretation and can invite them to interpret their specific study.

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April 1, 2011

No thanks, Philica

by farehalasker

As introduced by Anka, Philica is in theory a good idea- an alternative to peer review could be just what is needed to shake up the old process. But just how effective is it? The answer is probably not very. Their review process starts after publication- already a bit too late to have an impact on the papers reviewed by them. Why would I care if Philica didn’t like my paper if Nature already had?

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April 1, 2011

Upcoming events in peer review

by JasmineMalone

So, if you want to more about peer review, whether it’s how to be a good reviewer or to continue the debate on system, here are some juicy upcoming talks you can attend – please note this post will be updated as new events are announced:

More soon!

April 1, 2011

THEMIS, NASA, and MSIP: How they interact

by Richard Masters

NASA Image

The Nature article I reviewed was Evidence for magmatic evolution and diversity on Mars from infrared observation. Through looking at the citing articles, I noted at the time that there were 3 interacting bodies that may have lead to the amount of potential citation bias I found- namely THEMIS, NASA and MSIP. In this post, I’ll set out the role and purpose of each organisation and note their interactions. In this way, I hope to go some way in explaining my results.

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April 1, 2011

Comedy Peer Review

by JasmineMalone

This Science Media Watch journalist has started a thread of ‘Comedy Peer Review’ on various social media networks, and I eagerly await your stories and experiences, from both journal editors and scientists. I’ll start this post off with a few of my own stories, journals/authors/crucial details will, of course, remain anonymous:

  • Having left a manuscript with a (highly prestigious in his/her field) peer reviewer for quite sometime, I chased and chased. I finally thought I would have to assign the paper to someone else, when I got an email saying that the reviewer had been terribly busy and wanted to devote his complete attention to the paper and had been working on it for ages, but still hadn’t finished and that of course his/her secretary would send it within a weeks’ time. Eager to get this world-renowned experts opinion, I waited a week, and was thrilled when an email came through from his secretary with a scanned attachement. I opened the attachment, only to find the printed out manuscript, with no more than three ticks in only one section of the results and the words ‘ok, but not great’ scribbled at the bottom. I assigned the paper to another reviewer.

Please feel free to comment with your stories below and this post will be updated accordingly!!!