Image: Proofreading marks, by volkspider via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Like many of us, I suspect, I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I love having written. And I enjoy certain kinds of writing and certain parts of the writing process (oddly, I really like shortening things; even more oddly, I just added this parenthetical that lengthens this paragraph). Other kinds of writing (Gantt charts, anyone?) I dislike; and there are a few parts of the writing process that I truly despise. Checking proofs? I’d rather remove my own gallbladder with a rusty spoon. Continue reading
Image: Deadline, by geralt CC 0 via pixabay.com.
Warning: I’m a bit grumpy today.
I’m back tilting at one of my favourite windmills today: requests for manuscript reviews with unreasonably short deadlines. I’ve explained elsewhere that one should expect the process of peer review to take a while. Journals would love to compress the process by reducing the time the manuscript spends on the reviewer’s desk – and so they ask for reviews to be returned in 2 weeks, or in 10 days, or less. As a reviewer, I don’t play this game any more: I simply refuse all requests with deadlines shorter than 3 weeks.
I’ve asked a few editors and journal offices why they give such short deadlines, and they give two kinds of answers: one outcome-based, and one process-based. Continue reading
(This is a lightly edited version of a post that originally ran in January 2015. But you probably didn’t see it then.)
Here’s a problem you might not have thought of: did you know you can submit and publish a paper with a coauthor who’s deceased, but not with one who’s in a coma and might recover?
A lot of people have never thought of this, and a lot don’t think it’s a problem worth worrying about. Please bear with me, though, because I think it’s a more important problem than most of us realize – but also one that’s easily avoided.
The unavailable-coauthor problem is actually more general than my coma example. Continue reading
Image: Three choices – out of thousands.
Warning: long post. Grab a snack.
Having lots of options is a wonderful thing – right up until you have to pick one. Have you ever been torn among the two dozen entrées on a restaurant menu? Blanched at the sight of 120 different sedans on a used-car lot? If you have, you might also wonder how on earth you’re going to choose a journal to grace with your latest manuscript. There are, quite literally, thousands of scientific journals out there – probably tens of thousands – and even within a single field there will be hundreds of options. (Scimago lists 352 journals in ecology, for example, but that list is far from comprehensive.)
What follows are some of things I think you might consider when you choose a journal. Continue reading
Warning: another grumpy one
I’m seeing it more and more: requests to review manuscripts with ludicrously short deadlines. Sometimes 10 days, sometimes 7, sometimes one week (5 business days). And I see editors on Twitter bragging about a paper they’ve shepherd through the entire review process in 5 days, or a week, or two weeks. I want all this to stop. Continue reading
Photo: Paul Erdős. (c) Topsy Kretts, CC BY 3.0
Warning: very nerdy.
Sometimes I get distracted and go down a rabbithole. Sometimes the result is fun.
I’ve been lucky, over my career, to have a large number of coauthors (some of whom are good friends; but many of whom I’ve never even met). Coauthorhip makes my work better, but it has other benefits too. A somewhat abstract one is that it makes me feel that I’m part of something larger than my own research program, or even my own discipline. I belong (as we all do) to a global and cross-disciplinary network of collaborating scientists. And to prove it, I have an Erdős number. Continue reading
Peer review is a dumpster fire, right? At least, that’s what I hear – and there’s a reason for that.
Last month, I got reviews back on my latest paper. Opening that particular email always makes me both excited and depressed, and this one ran true to form: a nicely complimentary opening from the editor and Reviewer 1 – followed by several pages of detailed critiques from Reviewer 2 – and Reviewer 3 – and, believe it or not, Reviewer 4. 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 (email@example.com), Benoit Facon (firstname.lastname@example.org), Thomas Guillemaud (email@example.com), and Ruth Hufbauer (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
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:
A few months ago, I wrote a post that prompted a brief twitter discussion with Meghan Duffy about whether we sign our reviews. I tend to sign mine, and Meg tends not to, but neither of us felt completely sure that our approach was the right one. So, we decided that it would be fun to write parallel posts about our views on signing (or not signing) reviews. Here is Meg’s, over at Dynamic Ecology; please read it, as she makes excellent points (all of which I agree with) even while arriving at a different conclusion (and a different default practice) than I do!
A lot has been written about the merits of signed vs. anonymous peer review. There are arguments on both sides (which I don’t intend to review comprehensively), but in general I’m firmly convinced that at least the offer of anonymity is important to getting broad reviewer participation and high-quality reviews. But I sign almost all of the reviews I write. This seems odd in at least two ways. First, here I am plugging anonymity, but I don’t use it much; and second, if I sign almost all of my reviews, why don’t I sign all of them? I’ll try to explain; and I’m trying to explain to myself as much as I am to you, because I’m far from convinced that I’m doing the right thing. Continue reading