Archive for September, 2013

Keeping time

Today, with two days left of the 4th FEBS Advanced Lecture Course on Matrix Pathobiology, Signaling and Molecular Targets, we had a speaker go over time in a big way. This was despite excellent and firm chairing by Renato Iozzo – he had even brought a referee’s whistle, as we didn’t have a bell. I sympathise with Renato, this happened to me a year ago, when I chaired a session at the proteoglycan Gordon conference. (more…)


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I have come across an excellent video on the peer review process at Biomed Central, which I thoroughly reocommend.

There are particularly good points from Greg Petsko, as well as Joshua Sanes and Laurie Goodman.

One of Greg Petsko’s excellent points, which echoes the frustrations vented in a number of my posts (some examples here and here), is that editors really need to act like editors, not just some sort of conduit. That is, they need to make decisions based on evidence, not on some sort of commercial game in acquiring a false auro of prestige for their journal.

Joshua Sanes identifies the gross non-linearity between the perception of journal prestige and the actual difference in the quality and importance of the papers published in these and other journals.

One important point they have missed, which I believe is key, is the post publication peer review, now in its nascent form at PubPeer.com. Editors need to act on community concerns, not simply stick their heads in the sand or issue yet another euphemistic mega correction, something I discuss in a number of posts, the most recent of which is here.

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There is an argument, which I subscribe to, that the self-righting mechanisms of science are not working. To kick off, it is worth noting that the claim that science is self-righting is made by scientists and by organisations such as journal publishers, whose very existence depends on science. To me there is something of a conflict of interest here.
In my last post on the subject, “Does Science self-right“, I went through a selection of the evidence that highlighted the conflict of interest journals have in claiming that science self-rights and enumerated a number of examples of what we might euphemistically call “problem papers”. Since, I have come across a transcript of Peter Medawar’s excellent broadcast entitled “Is The Scientific Paper a Fraud?“. (more…)

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The Fibroblast Growth Factor Gordon Research conference is biennial, so it almost follows a Martian calendar and next year it will be five years old. The fifth Gordon Research conference on Fibroblast Growth Factors will be held in Ventura, California, March 1-7 2014. This is THE meeting for all things FGF and assembles an eclectic mix of leaders in the field, young PIs, industry scientists and scientists in training. A Gordon Research Seminar will precede the full meeting. This was introduced at the last GRC (May 2012) and was very successful. (more…)

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