Weekend reads: Yelp for journals; where do the postdocs go?; scientific papers’ hidden jokes

booksThis week at Retraction Watch featured two Office of Research Integrity findings, and retractions in the Voinnet and Hanna cases. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

3 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Yelp for journals; where do the postdocs go?; scientific papers’ hidden jokes”

  1. I received this rejection this morning from a prominent journal in my field, published by Springer. I would like to hear the experience and the opinion of other scientists. Basically, my grievance with this rejection is that it is not based on any scientific basis, simply on “space in the journal”-type rejection, moreover, made exclusively by one individual, the EIC. I think this exclusion principle is so fundamentally wrong. The only reason why a paper should be rejected, as I see it, is for faulty science. Here goes the e-mail rejection text, with journal name redacted:

    “Editor-in-Chief:
    [Journal name redacted], as many other journals publishes review articles, but that is not its main vocation whereby the possible number of reviews per volume is highly limited and the selection pressure is very stringent. Your submission is well focused and also nicely written but this contribution would be far more adapted to a book chapter than to a periodical journal. For these reasons, this manuscript cannot enter the review process, and the manuscript will not be considered for publication in [Journal name redacted]. We wish the authors all the best in publishing their work elsewhere.”

    1. I think the rejection is just fine. Reviews should, in my opinion, be upon invitation only, or, alternatively, upon agreement of the EiC when a scientist first explains why a review is necessary. Journals are generally meant to publish new science, not summaries of old science, as the EiC indirectly indicates. Why would the journal be required to spend time on a review that the EiC does not consider to have sufficient impact/relevance? Your review would put pressure on an already overburdened peer review system, thereby potentially negatively affecting a manuscript that describes new science.

      You may have a point if the journal explicitly invites reviews, but something tells me this journal does not.

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