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.
Reading papers is part of the job, but keeping up with the literature can feel overwhelming sometimes. If you’re developing a sense of dread for that stack of papers on your desk, it’s time to learn some shortcuts that will get you up to speed.
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”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: