More and more often these days I hear myself saying “It was never like this in my day” but can I really be sure? My own contribution to academic research was modest and short-lived and I don’t remember having to follow any particular line when I was sponsored by the British Antarctic Survey.
I remember one of my papers being refereed by David Southwood (at Imperial College at the time – he went on to lead the ESA), commenting to the effect “Don’t be afraid to challenge theoretical models if the data is telling you something else.” Clearly he would have been sacked instantly these days!
Then again I do remember sitting in the common room one day at BAS and someone coming in waving a chart showing the discovery of the ozone hole…hmm
Times are moving fast and Science and Nature magazine can’t cope. Caught resting on their laurels these eminent mainstream publications have again been exposed as inept or biased when it comes to peer-reviewing the papers submitted to them.
The latest blow concerns the questionable peer review policies of these “top” journals. These denizens of academic publishing are being pulverized in the blogosphere for their inflexibility and conservatism more in keeping with the bygone era of traditional paper and print publishing. Signaling the revolution this week are astute analysts from various quarters. Leading Aussie science blogger, Jo Nova, reflects the mood in the climate science community lamenting:
“The peer review system has decayed to the point where the culture of the two “top” science journals virtually guarantees they will reject the most important research done today. It is the exact opposite of what we need to further human knowledge the fastest…
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