Noah Grey of Action Potential has a good discussion going on the role of the “confidential comments to the Editor” box in the peer review of scientific manuscripts. The lure is as follows:

At the PubMed Plus leadership conference this past June, sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience, the creation of a Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium was proposed. Here is a message from SfN president David Van Essen describing the vision for this new entity:

After an article is rejected by one journal and authors are ready to submit a revised manuscript to another journal, they will have the opportunity and the option to request that the reviews from the first journal be passed directly to the new journal (assuming that both journals are part of the consortium). In many cases, the second journal will be able to reach a decision faster and more efficiently, thereby benefiting authors as well as the overly stressed manuscript reviewing system.

This revolutionary proposal is now a reality, at least for a trial run from January to December 2008.

Go join the discussion it looks interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

The DrugMonkey Scale

November 16, 2007

David Ng of World’s Fair launches yet another meme, this one to establish your own scientific eponym. A few interesting offerings include the Teammate Desirability Factor, Stemwedel Index, Higgins-Levinthal Dictum, Gorton’s Law and Sciencewoman’s Law. You will note that these are faux equation heavy measures since, of course, you need to be “quantitative” to be a RealScientist. Gack.

In this post I am happy to present the DrugMonkey Scale as metric to evaluate the degree to which one is outraged upon reading blog entries or commentary supplied by readers. Feel free to use it on this blog and elsewhere :-).

As is appropriate for an Experimental Psychology type of blogger, the DrugMonkey Scale is in the form of a traditional neuropsychological response scale, the classic being the eponymous Likert scale. These types of scales are typically a 5, 7 or 9 interval decision/response option. The scale may be anchored by numbers or, commonly, by subjective descriptors (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree) which are intended to be a more intuitive way to calibrate subjects’ responses.

The DrugMonkey Scale is an intuitive, non-numeric 5 point scale. For the subjective anchoring I’ve selected the most iconic of monkeys, Curious George, who also happens to be the iconic figure for a monkey intoxicated on drugs. I give you, the DrugMonkey Scale! Read the rest of this entry »

Paranoia in Research

November 16, 2007

I’m not sure about the prevalence of DrugMonkey’s conspiracy theories about contemporaneous publication, but I do have a more general comment on “paranoia in research”. In my experience, the benefits of discussing one’s research-in-progress with peers and colleagues far outweighs the risk of having your ideas stolen or being scooped. Read the rest of this entry »

Circumstantial evidence

November 15, 2007

A recent post soliciting Open Laboratory 2007 nomination from Noah Grey of Action Potential Blog reminded me of a little commentary exchange that we were having over a post on “paranoia in research“. Inexplicably I let him get in the last word. Fortunately an opportunity presents itself to continue the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

The 15 Nov issue of Nature has a most interesting editorial in which they propose that artificial performance enhancement is not cheating but in fact highly laudable.

Of all the arguments levelled against taking drugs for human enhancement, the idea that it is cheating has least power. …What is sure is that opponents of enhancement are, to a degree, whistling in the wind. They raise other spectres — unfairness of access (although today’s enhancing dose is cheaper than a cup of coffee), possibilities of employer coercion and the loss of human dignity or of the ‘natural’ — but ultimately, to little avail. Many healthy people still opt for chemical enhancements of all sorts, as suppliers of cosmetics and some pharmaceuticals know well. Such actions betoken an ethical argument on the other side: the pursuit of personal liberty. Read the rest of this entry »

I was going to reply to the DM’s query on “ambition” in science careers (motivated by FSP here, followups here and here) in a comment but it got a bit lengthy. So, I present my ambitions for your general derision: Read the rest of this entry »


November 10, 2007

This post over at FSP gets me thinking. What is your ambition in your science career? When you hit 70 what do you want to see on your CV? What accomplishments will make you proudest and happiest?