Peer Review Week is a global event celebrating the role of peer review in maintaining scientific quality. This year marks the event’s fourth anniversary of bringing together researchers, institutions, and organizations committed to the message that good peer review is crucial to scholarly communications. This year Peer Review Week on the topic of diversity aims:
To emphasize the central role peer review plays in scholarly communication
Although peer review itself is not as young as the week-long event organized in its celebration, it is still a relatively new invention. Albert Einstein published his original papers in non-peer-reviewed German journals through 1933, most famously in the Annalen der Physik. Max Planck, one of the journal’s editors of the time, described his editorial philosophy as:
To shun much more the reproach of having suppressed strange opinions than that of having been too gentle in evaluating them.
After moving to the US, Einstein was so shocked that his paper submitted to the Physical Review in 1936 was met with negative criticism that he decided not to publish with them at all. Ironically, the paper in question hypothesized that gravitational waves do not exist. In retrospect, peer review saved Einstein the controversy and the embarrassment that would have ensued if he had published his original article. Continue reading “Diverse Approaches to Peer Review”
ScienceOpen and the Microbiology Society are pleased to announce a collaboration on new ways to showcase cross-disciplinary research. The ScienceOpen discovery environment provides state-of-the-art technological infrastructure to promote exciting new initiatives from the Society’s journals.
Interdisciplinarity is key for the Microbiology Society in reaching a wide range of researchers, from microbiologists, clinicians, epidemiologists, social scientists and policymakers to physicists, chemists and engineers. In line with their mission to advance the understanding and impact of microbiology by connecting communities worldwide, the Society is exploring new ways to package digital information, from pop-up journals to mini-review formats, to bring diverse researchers together to solve global problems.
ScienceOpen has created a flexible “Collection” product to highlight publisher content within the larger context of academic research – with over 43 million articles and records on the site. The Microbiology Society is taking advantage of the full scope of interactive features available to researchers on ScienceOpen. As well as promoting the Open Access journal Microbial Genomics, the Society is using ScienceOpen to promote cross-disciplinary products that draw on articles from multiple journals, such as the new pop-up journal on antimicrobial resistance X-AMR, the Microbiome collection created in conjunction with the British Society for Immunology, and the Microbe and Virus Profiles created in conjunction with top microbiologists and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, both of which offer concise reviews for experts and beyond. Continue reading “Beyond the Journal: ScienceOpen and the Microbiology Society Launch Collaboration on New Cross-Disciplinary Collections”
This Spring, we are organising a little competition for all you researchers! Review an article on ScienceOpen before the end of April, and we will enter you into a prize drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.
Open Peer Review on ScienceOpen
ScienceOpen counts currently more than 40 million articles including 3.7 million open access articles as well as more than 1.4 million preprint articles. All these articles are open on ScienceOpen to a fully transparent review process: open identities, open reports, and open interaction on the platform (see our precedent blogpost here).
At ScienceOpen, we believe that “Open Science” is not just about sharing research data. For us, “Open Science” aims to make research and underlying data accessible in order toinform andallow researchers communities to take part in discussions regarding their field, increasingoverall participation and relevant inclusion of different perspectives.
Open peer reviews are also crucial in this current context of rapid development of open science and digital scientific communication. If the openness of scientific contents is a first victory for the advancement of research and innovation, open peer review still needs to be embodied in this practice to establish its full credibility and full benefit. (Picture: CC0 1.0)
What does reviewing on ScienceOpen bring concretely to reviewers?
→ Reviews are published under Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY (4.0) and will receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from Crossref. This makes them fully equivalent to any Open Access publication, and they can be cited or integrated further into platforms like Publons, Impactstory, or ORCID.
→ As open access publications indexed on ScienceOpen, reviews are public and can be found easily on the platform using the filter “Content type”: “Review”. For a more precise search, this filter can be used for example in combination with the title of an article.
→ Reviewing articles on ScienceOpen is a great way to show the reviewer’s involvement in his/her research field and his/her appreciation for researchers who have dedicated their time to providing a research resource to their community.
Ready, set, go!
The only requirement to write a review on ScienceOpen is to be registered with ORCID (already done with a ScienceOpen profile) and have at least five publications assigned to the ORCID account (with which you reach ScienceOpen–Expert status). If you do not meet these requirements but would still like to review a paper, contact us.
The International Women’s day was created in 1910 and it is still celebrated today to remind us that women and men still don’t have the same rights: lower salary with equal skills, lower access to education… and the recent events regarding sexual harassment remind us more than ever that violence against women is one of the most widespread violation of human rights on the planet.
Regarding women in Science, the day for International Women and Girls in Science was only created three years ago and was celebrated on the 11th of February. According to the United Nations, women are still underrepresented in the various fields of science: “A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world.”
Let us remember that between 1901 and 2017 only 49 women got a Nobel Prize, of which 4 are in physics (<2%), 2 are in chemistry (<4%), and 12 are in medicine (~11%).
“In fact, according to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%.”UN
As a woman and an ex-researcher myself, my feeling regarding this day is divided between the strong need to highlight and recognise globally the unacceptable inequalities and unfairness between men and women—and the fear to be reduced only to my gender.
For me “being a woman” and particularly “being a woman in science” can’t be used as a criterion of competence in the same way that “being a man” or “being a man in science” can’t be used as one either. I would even say that I find it as contemptuous to be excluded because I am a woman as to get privileges only for this reason, too.
I think it is important that this day stays a way to discover and recognise the ability of women in different fields in regard to their creativity, intellectuality and their others various qualities in the same way as for men.
Women’s collections on ScienceOpen
For ScienceOpen, this day can be used as another day to promote collections and make research known. So, let’s introduce scientific women who are involved in various research fields—not only since today but for years!—and who created 25 researcher collections on ScienceOpen to share with you these years of research:
You can also consult the new collection: Women in Science, created recently on ScienceOpen by Annual Reviews as a tribute for scientific women: This collection was created to “recognize some of the experts that have contributed to Annual Reviews’ journals.”
Women working at ScienceOpen
I cannot finish this post without introducing myself and some of my colleagues at ScienceOpen. I am Sarah Rioton and I am French. I started to work as Research Communities Manager at ScienceOpen in January. Before, I did chemical engineering studies at CPELyon and then a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. After my studies, I decided to leave France to settle down in Germany. My experience in research made me conscious of the value of communicating scientific knowledge, and I found a good opportunity to do that with ScienceOpen! I think that the respect of rights equality is a daily duty and I don’t want to be defined as a “woman in science” but as a researcher as I was, or as a manager in research communication as I am.
Let’s introduce now Stephanie Dawson who is the chief executive officer at ScienceOpen, and my colleague Nina Tscheke who handles customer integration and sales support. We work every day to make the research more visible and accessible to everyone with ScienceOpen:
CEO Stephanie Dawson grew up in northern California and studied Biology at Yale University. She then worked at the labs of Susan Parkhurst at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle WA and Ralph Rupp, at the MPG Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Tübingen, Germany before changing fields and getting a PhD in German Literature from the University of Washington under Jane Brown. From 2001-2012 she worked in various positions at the academic Publisher De Gruyter in Berlin in the fields of biology and chemistry in both journals and book publishing. In 2013 she joined the ScienceOpen management team.
Nina Tscheke provides Customer Integration and Sales Support. After having dwelt in the sphere of literary and cultural studies, with special attention to critical race theory, gender, and minority studies and having helped introduce several generations of students at the JLU into the very field it was now time for her to move on and beyond the academical field. She was delighted to have found a new place/opportunity with ScienceOpen where she can further help in accumulating and disseminating the global knowledge while at the same time providing access and a networking platform for all.
Literature review is a crucial aspect of scientific work, with every single published research paper requiring one as part of the Introduction. Still, keeping up with the rapidly growing body of literature can be a daunting and time consuming task, and difficult to integrate into the everyday routine for many researchers. Being not an urgent, deadline-driven kind of activity, regular literature review often lands on the bottom of to-do lists.
However, with more than 2 million research papers published each year, how are you supposed to efficiently stay on top of this?
This is especially the case in the era of digital publishing when the power of established, high impact factor journal brands is becoming less important compared to article-level metrics and individual assessments. In this dynamically changing environment of scientific communication, keeping an open mind and providing critical evaluation of the literature have never been more important.
Consequently, signing up to individual RSS feeds or browsing through the contents of each of the key journals of your field of research is simply not an efficient way to keep yourself up to date.
At ScienceOpen, we offer powerful solutions for staying on top of recently published articles. By following the 3 steps below, you can easily integrate an effective literature review and discovery routine into your research life.
In line with the recent beetle boom on ScienceOpen, a researcher led collection on Coleoptera has been created on ScienceOpen. In the following interview founder and editor of the collection, Rolf Georg Beutel (Professor of Zoology at the Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Jena) will share a little background and gives us an insight on how it works in practice, how such thematic collections serve research communities. And of course, he will also reveal why beetles are cool.
Hi Rolf, thank you for joining. Can you first tell us a bit about your research background, and how you originally got interested in Entomology? Why did you choose to study Coleoptera?
I must admit that in contrast to many other entomologists I was not interested in insects at all as a child or later as a student of Zoology at the University of Tübingen. I was clearly inspired by an eccentric but outstanding academic teacher, Dr. G. Mickoleit, who suggested I should investigate the head and mouthparts of a very small and very cryptic beetle larva. Even though I had a hard time with my first objects of study, I obviously got hooked and continued studying beetles and other insects for the rest of my scientific career.
Why did you decide to build a ScienceOpen Collection on Coleoptera?
Dr. Stephanie Dawson, whom I have known for more than 10 years, mainly in the context of the Handbook of Zoology series, suggested to me to establish this ScienceOpen collection on beetles. My positive previous experience with her expertise and also with ScienceOpen was confirmed by the impressively efficient process of building and presenting this collection.
Coleoptera is one of the first automatically synchronized collections on ScienceOpen. What were the main principles of building the collection and how it develops?
Coleoptera is an immensely diverse and popular group. The intention was to go beyond the traditional fields of taxonomy and morphology, even though these have certainly their merits and are still very important in different contexts. The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.
Do you have favourite pieces or lines of research in the collection that you find especially relevant to this field?
Primarily I consider myself as a systematist, and therefore I am interested in articles on phylogeny and classification in the first place. Even though many publications in these fields are older and not available as electronic files (or not covered by open access), the new collection already provides an impressive number of relevant studies and will grow with an accelerated rate in the future.
As an evolutionary biologist dealing with beetles among other groups of insects, I appreciate that the data base covers multiple lines of research, as for instance genetics or physiology. This has the potential for reciprocal stimulation of researchers of Coleoptera, beyond the basic disciplines like systematics and taxonomy. These are indispensable tools in biodiversity research and provide an essential reference system for studies in other fields. Connected with topics like for instance the physiological and genetic backgrounds of feeding habits or reproductive biology, evolutionary biology of Coleoptera is getting really exciting. The very rapidly growing molecular data in the “age on phylogenomics” open fascinating perspectives in the investigation of beetles and other organisms.
In which ways your research community benefits from the collection?
The easy accessibility of open access articles on beetles is an obvious advantage of this collection.
Finally, tell us about what is the coolest thing in studying entomology?
Beetles are often very beautiful insects and have attracted attention very early, for instance as religious symbol (Scarabaeus sacer) or material for jewellery, or also simply as food source. Among amateur collectors, who made valuable contributions over the last centuries, only butterflies enjoy a comparable popularity. Talking about what is cool about Coleoptera, it is hard to avoid a statement made by the geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who allegedly said that God had an “inordinate fondness of beetles”. This mainly refers to the incredible diversity of the group, which presently comprises approximately 380.000 described species, about one-third of all known organisms. The question why Coleoptera was much more successful (in terms of species numbers) than other groups is an intriguing question in itself for evolutionary biologists. Aside from this, beetles are an integrative part of nearly all terrestrial and limnic habitats. Many species are important plant pests but others beneficial as natural enemies of harmful species. What fascinates me most is that after centuries of research crucial phylogenetic issues are still unsolved, like for instance the interrelationships of the 4 extant suborders (“it is the glory of God to conceal things….”). Presently exponentially growing molecular data sets and improved analytical approaches (www.1KITE.org) provide new powerful tools to resolve these issues. This is definitely “cool” and exciting!
Thank you, Rolf, it’s been great getting your insight!
We’ve had some amazing new publications recently here at ScienceOpen, and with many more in the pipeline too! For us, every paper we publish is special, and we like to highlight the effort put into them by our authors as much as possible. One of our newest addition is from the field of molecular biology and genomics, a huge and rapidly advancing research domain.
Many of you are probably aware of this, but as well as our main aggregation/open peer review functions, we also totally publish! We’re an Open Access publisher, and employ innovative methods of peer review around this.
We just wanted to draw your attention to some great new research that we’ve recently had the pleasure of publishing!
Search engines form the core of discovery of research these days. There’s just too much information out there to search journal by journal or on a manual basis.
We highlighted in a previous post the advantages of using ScienceOpen’s dual-layered search and filter functions over others like Google Scholar. Today, we’re happy to announce that we just made it even better!
Say you want to search all of PeerJ’s content. Pop ‘PeerJ’ into the journal search, and it’ll come up with all their content, as it’s all indexed in PubMed. Hey presto, there you have 1530 papers, all with full texts attached. Neat eh! And that will update as more gets published with PeerJ, so you know what to do.
But that’s a lot of content. What you’ve just discovered is the PeerJ megajournal haystack. We want to filter out the needles.
Student evaluations in teaching form a core part of our education system. However, there is little evidence to demonstrate that they are effective, or even work as they’re supposed to. This is despite such rating systems being used, studied and debated for almost a century.
A new analysis published in ScienceOpen Research offers evidence against the reliability of student evaluations in teaching, particularly as a measure of teaching effectiveness and for tenure or promotion decisions. In addition, the new study identified a bias against female instructors.
The new study by Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni, and Philip Stark (ScienceOpen Board Member) has already been picked up by several major news outlets including Inside Higher Education and Pacific Standard. This gives it an altmetric score of 54 (at the time of writing), which is the highest for any ScienceOpen Research paper to date!