It’s not just you: science papers are getting harder to read

Posted in Research on March 31st, 2017 by steve

International“Modern scientific texts are more impenetrable than they were over a century ago, suggests a team of researchers in Sweden. It’s easy to believe that …” (more)

[Philip Ball, Nature News, 30 March]


In Praise of ‘B’ Journals

Posted in Research on March 29th, 2017 by steve

“Every university has a list of A journals, those it considers to be the most prestigious in its field. Even the journals that rank institutions have such lists, and many universities use them to measure their impact. As a result, academics establish their credentials by publishing in these journals, and universities grant tenure and promotion for the same …” (more)

[Andrew Hoffman, Inside Higher Ed, 28 March]


Gender bias distorts peer review across field

Posted in Research on March 22nd, 2017 by steve

International“In many scientific fields, women publish fewer papers than men, are less likely to be listed as first authors and are less likely to receive glowing letters of recommendation from their advisers. These disparities have decreased over time, but they persist. Now, a study finds that some journal editors might be inadvertently taking gender into account when selecting reviewers for papers …” (more)

[Erin Ross, Nature News, 21 March]

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Patchy progress on fixing global gender disparities in science

Posted in Research on March 8th, 2017 by steve

International“Although women are publishing more studies, being cited more often, and securing more coveted first-author positions than they were in the mid 1990s, overall progress towards gender parity in science varies widely by country and field. This is according to a massive report released on 8 March that is the first to examine such a broad swath of disciplines and regions of the world over time …” (more)

[Erin Ross, Nature News, 8 March]

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The peer-review system for academic papers is badly in need of repair

Posted in Research on February 26th, 2017 by steve

International“Peer review, or scientific refereeing, is the basis of the academic process. It’s a rigorous evaluation that aims to ensure only work which advances knowledge is published in a scientific journal. Scientists must be able to trust this system: if they see that something is peer reviewed, it should be a hallmark of quality …” (more)

[Michael Rose and Willem Boshoff, The Conversation, 26 February]

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Discipline tardy journal editors, say scholars

Posted in Research on February 9th, 2017 by steve

International“Editors of academic journals should be investigated for ‘professional negligence’ if peer review at their publications takes too long, says a leading critic of the scholarly publishing industry. Despite many editors being unpaid or poorly remunerated for their work, plant scientist Jaime A Teixeira da Silva believes they ‘should be held accountable’ if authors are made to wait for an ‘excessive or unreasonable amount of time’ before a decision is made on their research …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 7 February]


Gender imbalance in science journals is still pervasive

Posted in Research on January 26th, 2017 by steve

International“In 2012, this journal admitted its gender bias. Following a complaint from two readers that too few News & Views articles were written by women, we totted up the numbers and realized that they were correct. Moreover, the imbalance was present in other sections of Nature, too …” (more)

[Nature, 25 January]

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‘You never said my peer review was confidential’ – scientist challenges publisher

Posted in Research on January 23rd, 2017 by steve

International“Are peer-reviewers free to openly share the content of their reviews if journal editors haven’t explicitly told them not to? Jon Tennant, a scientist-turned-outreach specialist, thinks so. Tennant had reviewed a research paper submitted to the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology …” (more)

[Quirin Schiermeier, Nature News, 23 January]

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Gates Foundation research can’t be published in top journals

Posted in Research on January 14th, 2017 by steve

International“One of the world’s most influential global health charities says that the research it funds cannot currently be published in several leading journals, because the journals do not comply with its open-access policy …” (more)

[Richard Van Noorden, Nature News, 13 January]

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What Happens to Rejected Papers?

Posted in Research on January 4th, 2017 by steve

International“The pain of rejection is one that every scientist has felt: but what happens to papers after they’re declined by a journal? In a new study, researchers Earnshaw et al traced the fate of almost 1,000 manuscripts which had been submitted to and rejected by ear, nose and throat journal Clinical Otolaryngology between 2011 to 2013 …” (more)

[Neuroskeptic, 3 January]


A possible future for science publishing

Posted in Research on January 4th, 2017 by steve

“You just finished reading an article published two weeks ago on a preprint server (spoiler alert: traditional journals have decreased in popularity). After closing the article on your favourite paper manager, you receive the following message: …” (more)

[Ben Sutherland, In Between Manuscripts, 29 December]

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Scientists in Germany, Peru and Taiwan to lose access to Elsevier journals

Posted in Research on December 24th, 2016 by steve

International“Thousands of scientists in Germany, Peru and Taiwan are preparing for a new year without online access to journals from the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier. Contract negotiations in both Germany and Taiwan broke down in December, while Peru’s government has cut off funding for a licence …” (more)

[Quirin Schiermeier and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Nature, 23 December]

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Scientific papers get more authors

Posted in Research on November 30th, 2016 by steve

International“As readers of scientific journals can attest, the list of authors on a typical research paper appears to be growing longer and longer. The trend is laid bare by data from Scopus, the biggest database of abstracts and citations of papers …” (more)

[Economist, 25 November]

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

Posted in Research on November 15th, 2016 by steve

USA“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 …” (more)

[Tricia Serio, The Conversation, 15 November]

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What to consider when choosing which journal to submit your paper to

Posted in Research on November 10th, 2016 by steve

UK“There is plenty to consider when making a decision about which journal to submit your paper to; ranging from basic questions over the journal’s scope, through its review process and open access offerings, all the way to the likelihood your work will be widely read and cited …” (more)

[Patrick Dunleavy, Impact of Social Sciences, 10 November]


Is Publication Success a Matter of Dumb Luck?

Posted in Research on November 9th, 2016 by steve

USA“‘Hey scientists, how much of your publication success is due to dumb luck?’ In scientific journalism, this headline was about as close to click-bait as you can get. And yes, I clicked …” (more)

[Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, 9 November]


Should You ‘Revise and Resubmit’?

Posted in Research on October 20th, 2016 by steve

USA“How quickly can you get a paper through peer review? Editors and boards are under tremendous pressure to decrease the time it takes to get a paper from submission to first decision and then to acceptance. Rapid publication is a major selling tool for any journal …” (more)

[Angela Cochran, The Scholarly Kitchen, 20 October]


Would peer review work better if reviewers talked to each other?

Posted in Research on September 21st, 2016 by steve

UK“Would distributing all reviewers’ reports for a specific paper amongst every referee before deciding whether to accept or reject a manuscript make peer review fairer and quicker? This idea — called ‘cross-referee commenting’ — is being implemented by the journal Development, as part of its attempt to improve the peer-review process …” (more)

[Retraction Watch, 21 September]

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Journal to rank peer reviewers to improve response times

Posted in Research on September 9th, 2016 by steve

International“A behavioural economics journal is trialling a novel and controversial way of making sure peer reviewers submit their reviews on time – releasing a ranking of how quickly they respond …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 7 September]


Wasting time on the margins of academic writing

Posted in Research on August 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Recently I submitted a paper to a leading journal. They had incredibly specific requirements for formatting for submitted papers, and numerous templates in Word, SciWord, Latex and so on for the use thereof …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 9 August]