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067: Science Magazine Takes a Teeny, Tiny Step Toward Open Access

If you read the following headline this week, you might have experienced a small thrill:

AAAS Forms Partnership to Expand Access to
High-Quality Scientific Publishing

AAAS, or the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is the organization that publishes the flagship journal Science Magazine and related titles.  You might believe from that headline that you could now access Science articles for free from anywhere in the world!

You’d be wrong.


042: I’m a Fifth Year, and I’m Stuck in a Rut

The good news is that your research project has gone well over the last few years, and you got your paper published.

The bad news is that you published everything in that one paper, and you’re out of ideas.

And you’re five years into the program.

And your PI doesn’t want to help you anymore.

How, exactly, are you supposed to get your research project out of the rut and back on track so you can graduate?


034: Sci-Hub and the Publication Pirates

Research budgets are tight, and many universities are canceling subscriptions to costly online science journals and publications.  But papers are the currency of science, and it’s impossible to stay at the top of your field when you can’t find out what your field is doing.

One solution sails between the rock and the hard-place, as scientists and trainees turn to ‘pirated’ articles posted online.


Now to try PLOS One!

005: Perfecting Peer Review

Scientists are supposed to be objective, so why is it easier to publish your paper when you’re in a big-name lab?  Why do women and minorities get harsher feedback from reviewers than white men?  And more importantly, what can be done to make the process fair?

When Peer Review Attacks

In this episode, we uncover the seamy underbelly of paper publishing and take a look at some alternatives to the current system of peer review, including the recent move by Nature to make the process “Double Blind”.

Peer Review Godzilla
His paper exploring the societal impacts of resurrected monster-reptiles of the late Cretaceous period was rejected. Now to try PLoS ONE!

We’ll look at some of the early forms of scientific discourse and trace the evolution through time and technology, as well as identifying the unintended consequences of the current system.  Is it better to make the process open like PLoS ONE?  Would scientists benefit from an online collaboration tool that allowed discussion and feedback after publication?

Dan and Josh have different opinions about how to improve the process, so be sure to leave your feedback in the comments section or on our Facebook page.  How would you change the peer review system to improve scientific rigor, inclusiveness, and expand science’s impact on society?

Beer and Puzzles!

Moving from peer review to BEER review, we celebrate summer this week with the Fullsteam Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale and Daniel introduces a new puzzle form of the weekly word origin.  He’ll give you a phrase that contains a literal translation of the secret word, along with some hints to help you find it.  Your job is to guess the right word based on its meaning!

This week’s clue is:

This book, published by the Royal Society, must have contained very small handwriting.

If you think you know the answer, email it to by Thursday, August 6, 2015.  We’ll select a winner randomly from the correct answers and announce it on the next episode.  Happy Wording!



Here are some links to the papers and websites we mentioned in the show:

Nature Journals Offer Double-Blind Review
Lenny Teytelman’s rebuttal to Nature’s announcement
Hilda Bastion’s call for a stronger post-publication culture
PLOS One’s publication criteria
A great introduction to gender and racial bias at the university level
Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards
Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.
US and non-US submissions: an analysis of reviewer bias.
Peer-review practices of psychological journals: The fate of published articles, submitted again

Peer Review Monster by Gideon Burton