Bad press for peer review: is it deserved? (Repost)

I’m posting this comment I wrote in 2016 for European Science Editing on my blog, 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.

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Together, we can save STEM – ALDLive17

I HAVE to dedicate an ALDLive17 post to my new STEM hero. Aphra Bennet. This bad ass STEM lady is 17 years old, and I’m quite sure she is set to take the STEM world by storm. And soon.

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I need your knitting! Knit a Neuron is BACK

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.

This is where you, crafting community, come in.

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Pursuing the elusive Post-Doc – how to make the most of it?

So, I’ve successfully completed my first month as a post-doctoral research assistant. What a month it’s been. Still no completion date in sight for my PhD thesis, but that’s for another day. I’ve submitted ethics amendments, helped apply for a grant (thus potentially securing my job for next year), attended meetings, made suggestions. And I’m struggling for more things to do. Continue reading