[Coral-List] Peer review in coral reef science
rvegathurber at gmail.com
Wed May 22 14:25:47 EDT 2013
John and coral listers,
Thanks to John for an insightful post about the issues with peer review in our field. This is a topic I often discuss with my students and postdocs. As a former ousider to coral reef work (i am a microbiologist and cell biologist by training) I was shocked by the reviews I and others in my new lab received when we began to submit to reef focused journals. Many were outright rude or personally insulting. There really should be no place for these kinds of comments in our community.
The result of this lack of civility is that we have a reputation among biologist for our nastiness. In an era of reduced funding but increases in collaberative science, we negatively affect our funding opportunities by creating a negative atmosphere surrounding our field. Groups that have come together to tackle big global issues are getting more funding.
It's so bad that many of us young coral reef biologists commonly discuss the lack of civil discourse in our field. We want to know what the root of these harsh and sometimes personal insulting reviews is? And, honestly, because many of us have toes in other fields, we avoid reef focused journals. This is a disservice to the community.
Yes we are a passionate bunch. And yes we care deeply about reefs. But we are also suppose to be scientists who are objective. My sense is that many reviewers forget that one's opinion and/or personal philosophy do not trump good science. We need to judge manuscripts on the overall data, the quality of the scientific procedures, and whether the conclusions are supported by the findings. We must also accept that there are limitations to what scientists can acheive in a given amount of time. There are time constraints, logistical,biological, and legal issues that cause mehodological difficulties, as well as financial limitations inherent in every project.
Peer review makes every published work better for the most part. But we as a community need to do a better job at removing some of the emotion from the process.
On May 20, 2013, at 8:14 AM, John Bruno <jbruno at unc.edu> wrote:
> Hey coral reefers,
> Ever wonder what other peoples reviews look like? Want to peek behind the veil of secrecy shrouding peer-review in science? Come on over to SeaMonster where I just posted typical reviews from our field's top journals:
> Trailer: "I think the paper is crap" "There is no there, there"
> Enjoy! And share you experiences here or there.
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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