A “negative result” on the stem cell debate – currently under open peer review

This blog article was written by Eva Amsen for F1000 who we interviewed earlier about the young journal, open peer review and publishing negative results. The paper currently in open peer review at F1000 research reports the failure to reproduce the STAP findings earlier this year – and may set an example for the importance for publishing ‘negative results’.


Interview with Anne Færch Nielsen

Anne Færch Nielsen is a molecular biologist from Denmark and she is an editor at the EMBO Journal. She received her PhD from Aarhus University and the Ribonucleic acid took her from there to Vienna and finally to Heidelberg. As an editor she is responsible for her chemicals and things that go on inside the cell. She followed the debate on the ‘STAP’ (Stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells that rocked the stem cell field since the beginning of the year. We asked her about her thougths on the developments and the connection with post-publication peer review. All opinions are her own, not EMBO’s.



End of January two papers in Nature by Obokata et al. claimed a new method to create pluripotent stem cells in a surprisingly simple way. How was the first reaction in your professional environment to the big news? (more…)

Peer Review: Nuts & Bolts

Professor John Gilbert, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Science Education and Alice Ellingham, Director of the Editorial Office Ltd. discuss the nuts and bolts of peer review at the Sense about Science Workshop on April 25, 2014.

This video was filmed by Lindsay McKenzie and edited by Misha Gajewski.

Opinion Poll: Should Peer Reviewers be paid?

An interesting question arose at the Peer Review: Nuts and Bolts workshop on the 25th of April – should peer-reviewers be paid?

Rubriq are one publisher who pay their reviewers, saying:

“First, philosophically we feel that reviewers should be compensated for the valuable service they provide for the scientific community. Second, providing payment makes the process more formal, and can lead to more standards, training, and recognition. Finally, in order to be able to deliver high-quality, consistent reviews in a two-week timeline, it is important to provide compensation for that commitment. And by offering reviewers the option of an honorarium in lieu of payment, some of those earnings can even go directly back into research organizations.”

But what do you think?

Have your say in this poll:

You can also listen to the views of a selection of young academics here:

Top 10 chemistry journals and their impact factors for 2012

Every year Thomson Reuters publish a list of impact factors for journals to act as a rating system of how important a journal is; the higher the impact factor the more important the journal.

Many scientists and publishers dislike the impact factor but for the time being there seems little other option for rating journals.

One website, however, that uses a different method to rate journals is SCImago Journal and Country Rank. Here is a comparison between their choice of the top 10 chemistry journals and Thomson Reuters impact factors.

Graph produced using data wrapper.de

Graph produced using data wrapper.de (click on it to enlarge)

As you can see there is some discrepancy between the each organisations ratings, but Thomson Reuters does say that you should not rely alone on impact factor to determine how useful a journal is.

Interview with Elizabeth Moylan, Biology Editor at BioMed Central

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Elizabeth Moylan

Elizabeth Moylan completed her PhD at the University of Oxford and worked as a post doc before moving into publishing. She is currently Biology Editor at BioMed Central, an open access publisher. In her role as Biology Editor, Elizabeth has editorial responsibility for the biology journals, oversees editorial polices and manages the peer review process.

Speaking at the recent Peer Review: The Nuts and Bolts workshop hosted by Sense about Science on April 25th, Elizabeth was asked to expand on the issue of ‘professional’ peer review, an interesting and novel topic for many in the audience. I asked Elizabeth to share her thoughts on this issue and others below:

What is ‘professional’ peer review?