I’m posting this comment I wrote in 2016 for European Science Editing on myblog, because I’ve realised that it isn’t easily available or searchable online. You can also read it on ResearchGate.
Peer review has recently been getting some bad press. There is ongoing debate across the sciences about its validity and usefulness, with many believing it is slow, costly, biased, and inconsistent. (1)In the last few years alone several high-profile cases in the media have highlighted these downfalls. One such example is the reaction on Twitter to a PLOS reviewer’s suggestion that male authors be added to a manuscript examining gender bias in academia, which was written by two female researchers (Figure 1). Another is the revelation that a number of researchers had systematically submitted bogus articles and faked peer review, (2,3)and the retraction of over 120 articles published by Springer and IEEE over “gobbledygook” articles that had nonetheless passed peer review. More light-hearted criticisms of the process have included multiple online collections of the best and worst comments left by reviewers.
Ada Lovelace Day is a day dedicated to celebrating women in STEM, founded by Suw Charman-Anderson 8 years ago as a blog event telling stories about women in tech. The now international celebration champions women of the past, present, and future, across the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
I first got involved with Ada Lovelace Day in 2013 when I took part in a Wikipedia Editathon. I then co-authored a chapter of ‘More Passion for Science’at about Ati Hermelin. This year I attended the Ada Lovelace Day Live event in London, and the entire evening blew me away! I was excited to be invited, and enthralled from start to finish.
I’m bringing back the event that kick-started my love of the knit and purl; Knit a Neuron!!!
I work at the University of Oxford, and part of my role is to run ‘engagement events’. The University as a whole is hosting a Curiosity Carnival on September 16th and 29th to teach the public about our research. I’m a neuroscientist by background, and in my eagerness to take part in the event I suggested they have a ‘Knit a Neuron’ installation. The aim is help kids make neurons, and teach them about brain and health research. Not only was this idea met with enthusiasm, I was asked to organise the whole thing.