CFP: Peer Review & Biomed Publication

Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication

September 8-10, 2013, Chicago, Illinois

Following the successful 6 previous congresses, the Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, which will be held September 8-10, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois, will provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of new research on peer review and scientific publication. Abstracts on any aspect of scientific editorial and funding peer review, publication, and information access and exchange will be considered.

The increasing sophistication of research into these issues means that preference is likely to be given to well-developed studies with generalizable results (eg, multijournal, prospective, multiyear trials and prospective observational studies). Retrospective studies, systematic reviews, bibliometric analyses, surveys, and other types of studies will also be considered.Abstracts that report new research and findings will be given priority.

Abstracts can be submitted between January 1 and March 1, 2013.

Suggested research topics, instructions for preparing and submitting abstracts, programs and abstracts from previous congresses, and information about the meeting hotel, and other information are available on the Peer Review Congress website at: 

Drummond Rennie, Congress Director, & Annette Flanagin, Congress Coordinator, 515 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654


Rejected, But Not Dejected

A report by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) of a recently published study by Vincent Calcagno et al. suggests that rejection by one journal with a subsequent resubmission and publication elsewhere may be a very good thing, appearing to be associated with the article’s being more frequently cited than articles accepted on the first submission attempt.

The SSP report observes:

While resubmission costs authors time and effort, it also comes with real benefits. Articles previously rejected by another journal received significantly more citations than articles published on their first submission attempt. Calcagno interprets this finding as evidence that the peer-review process is doing its job. Indeed, two large surveys on peer review (Sense about Science (2009), and Mark Ware/PRC (2007)) both indicate that scientists overwhelming agree that the peer-review process improves the quality of their work. Proponents of the publish-first-review-later model argue that it is better to produce more publications than improve the quality of one’s work.

James Evans, a University of Chicago sociologist of science, suggests an additional explanation for the improved citation impact findings. As quoted in The Scientist:

“Papers that are more likely to contend against the status quo are more likely to find an opponent in the review system”—and thus be rejected—“but those papers are also more likely to have an impact on people across the system,” earning them more citations when finally published.

The SSP report is on its Web site:

The original research study by Calcagno et al. :

CFP: 7th Int’l Congress, Peer Review & Biomed Publ.

The Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication will be held September 8-10, 2013, in Chicago, IL. As with the previous Congresses, our aim is to improve the quality and credibility of biomedical peer review and publication and to help advance the efficiency, effectiveness, and equitability of the dissemination of biomedical information throughout the world.

Call for proposals:

Suggested topics:

Deadline for submission of abstracts is March 1, 2013.

Inscrutable Reviewers

In my work as a writing coach and editor for nursing faculty and doctoral students, I sometimes work with authors in interpreting inscrutable anonymous peer reviewers’ comments. As most of us know, the peer review process is not perfect, and we sometimes find that one reviewer says, ACCEPT, another says, REJECT, while a third says revise and resubmit. Sometimes al reviewers advise revision and resubmission but their revision suggestions are contradictory.

In an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Robert Giacalone (“The 5 Species of Journal Reviewers”) we are introduced to a taxonomy:

  1. The expert in everything.
  2. The insecure expert.
  3. The expert who should have written your paper.
  4. The expert who reveals his ignorance.
  5. The nasty reviewer.

The article is on line for subscribers.

Peer Review in Scientific Publications

Readers of NursingWriting might be interested in the just-released report of the English House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, “Peer Review in Scientific Publications.”

The report surveys the current landscape in order to document strengths and weaknesses of peer review and the effect of information technologies, and to make recommendations (including a discussion of alternatives to peer review).

The bottom line: “Peer review is neither perfect nor infallible, but we believe that dispensing with it is not an option.”

Inside Higher Ed: Elsevier Wants Journal Without Peer Review to Adopt It

Reported today on Inside Higher Ed:

Elsevier is pushing the only one of its journals that doesn’t use peer review — Medical Hypotheses — to start using peer review, Times Higher Education reported. The journal has to date published articles that its editor — Bruce Charlton, professor of theoretical medicine at the University of Buckingham — believes are “radical, interesting and well argued,” Times Higher said. Elsevier started the push to change the publishing process after a controversy over the journal’s publication of an article arguing that HIV does not cause AIDS. Charlton is opposing the proposed changes. “Medical Hypotheses has for 34 years been editorially reviewed and radical,” he said. “Therefore [the proposals] cannot possibly be acceptable.”

Chronicle: Is the Peer-Review System Broken?

Daniel J. Myers, professor of sociology and associate dean for research, graduate studies, and centers in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that the peer-review system (both for journals and book publishers) is not working, overwhelming many faculty with excessive review requests. He concludes:

All of the above issues are contributing to an overload of reviews, and we aren’t dealing with them. . . . For the journals [that professional organizations] control, they should impose standards that editors and reviewers must follow. These should include: (1) a proportion of papers that must be rejected without review, (2) a limit on the number of reviews solicited for each paper, (3) a substantial reduction in the percentage of authors invited to resubmit, and (4) a requirement that authors who have published in, or submitted to, the journal must review manuscripts.

The article is available to subscribers on the Chronicle‘s Web site.

Publishing Tips: Concerned About Peer Reviewers

One of the frequently confounding experiences that professors like you have had in scholarly publishing involves peer reviewers, whose comments sometimes conflict with each other or whose critiques are abusive or clueless.

You are not alone. According to an article by Jeffrey Brainard entitled “Incompetence Tops List of Complaints About Peer Reviewers” in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Incompetence by their reviewers was the most common problem reported by scientists who submitted manuscripts to scholarly journals. Almost two-thirds voiced that beef in a survey administered to scientists employed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The supposedly expert reviewers, scientists complained, had not carefully read articles, were unfamiliar with the subject matter, or made mistakes of fact or reasoning. The survey results, the first of their kind, were reported in the September issue of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics.

Only a small percentage of scientists reported experiencing two of the most serious violations of peer-review ethics, breach of confidentiality (7 percent) or theft of ideas (5 percent). That finding appears at odds with anecdotal reports that those two problems are pervasive and that the peer-review system is a corrupt, old-boys’ network.

Complete articles available on line to subscribers.


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