From writedit we receive the tipoff to a new initiative of NIH’s Center for Scientific Review. The Press Release says:

CSR is sending invitations to about 2,500 members of the scientific community with a strong commitment to peer review and experience serving as reviewers… Joining the college will allow reviewers who find it difficult to manage the travel and commitment of being a regular reviewer to remain engaged in peer review…College reviewers primarily will provide written or “mail-in” critiques and be involved in two-stage reviews, which have successfully assessed thousands of special sets of applications, such as the Transformative R01 and Challenge grant applications as well as groups of translational applications and small business applications.

Oh I think I will be taking this up a time or two. Initial observations:
-just when they were reducing the ad hoc participation on regular panels and increasing the load (thereby broadening the “fit”) of regular reviewers…this?
-all talk of impact and significance for regular review is rolled back, these initial reviewers will be expected to nitpick the design and methods, just like before!
-feedback from those who sat on the second stage of the Transformative and Challenge reviews this summer sure wasn’t all that positive..but then CSR seems to frequently steam forward with great enthusiasm on changes where I can’t seem to find anyone who is in favor of them.

Sacrifice means you too.

December 22, 2009

“Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia!” –Winston Smith

BikeMonkey Guest Post
I have been reading over the minor tempest that the DM has been trying to stir up with respect to the NIH grant as a “gift” to the PI. It strikes at deeper chords of tension that we have in NIH-funded science, chords that emerge most strongly every time there is a budget crisis. Or the appearance of a budget crisis in the NIH, anyway. It amuses me to match the identification of “the real problem”, the prescription offered as a solution and the career status of the person making the comment.
Older PIs complain about all the junior reviewers on study section and want to replace them with people more established, just like themselves.
Junior PIs complain about the rich-getting-richer and the OldBoys/Girls club and want caps on the total amount of funding a PI can hold.
Middle career PIs complain about OldBoys/Girls and Early Stage Investigator affirmative action…and propose a variety of creative cures that seem custom fit to benefit their own exact situation.
But the selfishness hardly begins and ends with NIH funded scientists. Not by half.

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Authorship Wackaloonery

December 22, 2009

This shit cracks me the fuck up:

Carbonic anhydrases are upstream regulators of CO2-controlled stomatal movements in guard cells
Honghong Hu1,5, Aurélien Boisson-Dernier1,2,5, Maria Israelsson-Nordström1,3,5, Maik Böhmer1,6, Shaowu Xue1,4,6, Amber Ries1, Jan Godoski1, Josef M. Kuhn1 & Julian I. Schroeder1
* * *
5. These authors contributed equally to this work.
6. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Three co-first authors and two co-fourth authors!?!? I am trying to imagine the negotiation between the Schroeder, Bohmer, and Xue:
Schroeder: Xue, where are those fucking PCRs!?!?
Xue: I’m not giving them up unless you make me fourth author!!! Fifth authorship is for fucking LOSERS!!!
Bohmer: No fucking way!!!! I’M FOURTH AUTHOR!!111!!!ELEBVENYT!!111!!
Schroeder: Ah, you fucking guys are a pain in my fucking ass! OK, how about this? You can be co-fourth authors. Happy now?
Xue: Ok, boss.
Bohmer: Ok, boss.
Schroeder: Great. Now get the fuck out of my office, you ridiculous fuckwads.