A look at the top five most read papers from our journal European Science Editing in the month of August.
A peer review card exchange gameRužica Tokalić & Ana Marušic
Issue 44(3) August 2018. Original Article
Introduction: Peer review aims to ensure the quality of research and help journal editors in the publication process. COST action PEERE, which explores peer review, including its efficiency, transparency and accountability, organised a peer review school endorsed by EASE. We developed a card exchange game based on responsibility and integrity in peer review for a hands-on training session.
Methods: We used the approach for the development of training materials about responsible research and innovation developed by the HEIRRI project, and the principles of the card game for the popularisation of the philosophy of science.
Results: We created 32 card statements about peer review, distributed across 6 domains: Responsiveness, Competence, Impartiality, Confidentiality, Constructive criticism and Responsibility to science. We adapted the instructions for the game and tested the game during the peer review school at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia, May 2018. The feedback by the participants was very positive.
Conclusions: The Peer Review Card Exchange Game could be used as an introductory activity for teaching integrity and ethics in peer review training.
“How did researchers get it so wrong?” The acute problem of plagiarism in Vietnamese social sciences and humanities
Issue: 44(3) August 2018. Essays
This paper presents three cases of research ethics violations in the social sciences and humanities that involved major educational institutions in Vietnam. The violations share two common points: the use of sophistry by the accused perpetrators and their sympathisers, and the relative ease with which they succeeded unpunished. The strategies the violators used to avoid punishment could be summarised as: (i) relying on people not paying enough attention when asked to do something relatively quickly, (ii) asking for the benefit of the doubt, (iii) redefining the meaning of ethics, and (iv) defaming the whistleblowers and showing how fighting ethics violations is too costly, slow and, in the end, worthless. We offer suggestions to improve transparency: investment in translation and education about codes of conduct in Vietnam; investment in research ethics and integrity; the use of open online resources and platforms; and educating Vietnamese researchers about international standards.
3D or 3-D: a study of terminology, usage and style
Andrew J. Woods
Issue: 39(3) August 2013.Original articles
The terms “3D” and “3-D” are two alternative acronyms for the term “three-dimensional”. In the published literature both variants are commonly used but what is the derivation of the two forms and what are the drivers of usage? This paper surveys the published stereoscopic literature and examines publication-style policies to understand forces and trends
My life as an editor – John Loadsman
Issue: 44(3) August 2018.My Life as an Editor
How do authors feel when they receive negative peer reviewer comments? An experience from Chinese biomedical researchers
Issue: 42(2) May 2016. Original articles
Background: Peer review is at the heart of academic publishing and has long been instrumental in bringing good science to the forefront. Peer reviewer comments provide authors with valuable suggestions to improve their manuscript; thus, even a rejected manuscript with constructive reviewer comments is highly valuable. However, peer reviewer comments can sometimes be negative, rather than constructive, damaging authors’ motivation and confidence levels.
Objective: This study aims to make editors and peer reviewers aware of how negative reviewer comments can affect authors, and suggests ways to ensure that peer review is constructive.
Methods: Through a discussion on DXY, an online community for biomedical researchers in China, authors were asked to share their experiences with negative reviewer comments; 99 participants responded. Separately, similar questions were posted on two other online communities, Academia Stack Exchange and Quora, yielding 11 responses. These responses were analyzed on the basis of their underlying emotion or message.
Results: The authors’ responses indicate that they appreciate receiving constructive reviewer comments and benefit from such comments. However, authors are often demoralized when they receive comments that are superficial, harsh, or overcritical, and do not provide constructive suggestions for improvement.
Conclusion: While it is true that peer review work claims a lot of time and energy from busy scientists, the purpose is lost when reviewer comments are purely negative. If peer reviewers could keep in mind the feelings of authors while drawing up their reports, peer review would become more effective and a more positive experience for authors.