Image: © (claimed) Terrance Heath, CC BY-NC 2.0
“How good a manuscript”, I’m sometimes asked, “is good enough to submit”? It’s a natural enough question. A manuscript heading for peer review isn’t the finished product. It’s virtually certain that reviewers will ask for changes, often very substantial ones – so why waste time perfecting material that’s going to end up in the wastebasket anyway? Continue reading
I enjoy watching birds, but I don’t keep a life list. I don’t keep a life list for anything, really, which might surprise people who know how data-nerdy I am. The exception: the journals I’ve published in. I don’t really know why I track this, but for some reason I find it fun. (To be honest, I’m kind of proud of it and I celebrate each new addition, but I can’t tell you why and I have a sneaking suspicion that I shouldn’t*).
So here’s my list as of today: Continue reading
I recently learned about Peer Community In (PCI), a new system for reviewing and recommending preprints. I’m really intrigued. It’s true that I’m an old fuddy-duddy who’s on record as saying that we often exaggerate the problems with the status quo, and as not liking to think outside the box. And yet there are good reasons to think it might be good to have other ways beyond traditional journals to disseminate science. We should experiment with a variety of new systems, and PCI seems like one well worth exploring. Read on to learn more!
What follows is a guest post by Denis Bourguet (firstname.lastname@example.org), Benoit Facon (email@example.com), Thomas Guillemaud (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Ruth Hufbauer (email@example.com). DB, BF, and TG are the founders of PCI, and RH is a colleague and member of the board of PCI Evol Biol.
We believe that the current system of publishing with academic journals suffers from four crucial problems. First, Continue reading
Photo: Wall of SPAM © Lee Coursey via flickr.com CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Esteemed contributor. Revered speaker. Renowned researcher. You get these e-mails too: invitations to publish papers in fake* journals, to join fake editorial boards, to speak at fake conferences. I’d certainly known I got a lot of them; but that was unquantified, because I usually just grin at their clumsy phrasing and then delete them without further thought. “What”, I thought, “would happen if I kept track of them all for a month? Would I learn anything? Could I milk a blog post out of it?” Continue reading
Image: Citation impact vs. originality, for 55 of my own publications. See text for explanation.
Warning: a bit cynical.
Last week I filled out a grad-school recommendation form for a terrific undergraduate student. Among other things, it asked me to rate her “originality”. That got me thinking.
We tell each other often that we admire scientists who are original thinkers. Originality is often an explicit criterion in manuscript assessment, in tenure assessment, even at science fairs. The related idea of “novelty” is a major criterion in many (if not most) grant applications. Herman Melville might almost have been speaking for scientists when he said “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation*”.
So we praise originality. But do we value it? I’m skeptical. Continue reading
Image: Asim Saeed via flickr.com CC-BY-2.0
This is a joint post by Steve Heard and Andrew Hendry (crossposted here on Andrew’s blog).
Another week, another rejection, right? If you’ve been in science long at all, you almost certainly have a bulging file of rejections for grants, manuscripts, fellowships, and even jobs. Here, for example, is Steve’s truly impressive job-rejection history; and here’s a previous analysis of Andrew’s manuscript rejections.
We were part of a recent Twitter exchange that began when Steve tweeted in celebration of submitting a manuscript – to its third different journal:
So, last week Meghan Duffy and I put up what amounted to point-counterpoint blog posts. I sign most of my reviews, while Meg doesn’t sign most of hers; but neither of us is quite sure that’s right. As I’d hoped, we got a bunch of good comments in the Replies on each blog. Here are a few things I learned from them: Continue reading