On the 2nd April we hosted a debate called Peer Review is Broken, How Can We Fix It? After a brief talk from each of the panelists, the debate was opened up so that the audience could ask questions. This video is the panelists’ talks section of the #prwdebate.
Professor Alison Smith is the Head of the Plant Metabolism Group at Cambridge University. I spoke to her about her thoughts on the current peer review process.
What do you think of the peer review process? Do you think it helps or hinders research?
I certainly don’t think it hinders research if done properly. In my experience the majority of academics are objective and fair in their assessments of papers and grant applications. The work is judged on the science and then this ensures that experiments are done correctly and interpreted appropriately, with due reference made to other work in the literature. The current trend of journals using editorial office to sift papers before sending to review and only choosing those that are ‘fashionable’ or high profile is not likely to help research generally.
To get an idea of what it is like going through the peer review process as a paper’s author, I spoke to physicist Joe Goodwin, who recently had his first paper reviewed before publication in Nature Communications.
Q: How long did the reviewing process take, from submission to a published paper?
A: My paper in Nature Communications was first submitted in May, and was published in October. Half of that delay was at our end, but Nature Communications publishes so many hundreds of papers per year that everything takes a while.
An interview examining what goes through the mind of a peer reviewer when they are asked to look at a paper and some top tips for Postgraduates who may be going through the process themselves. Have a listen and let us know if this is what goes through your head when you’re asked yet again to peer review. Tweet us @peerrevwatch or the author @mishagajewski or leave a comment below.
Tonight will see the launch of a scheme to make public over 8,000 research journals around the world. Access To Research will make over 1.5 million academic articles available online in participating public libraries – including research in health, social sciences, biological research and engineering. (more…)