peer review

 

Growing Skepticism about the Stem Cell Acid Trip

Posted 20 February 2014 by Jalees Rehman

In January 2014, the two papers “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency” and “Bidirectional developmental potential in reprogrammed cells with acquired pluripotency” published in the journal Nature by Haruko Obokata and colleagues took the world of stem cell research by surprise. Since Shinya Yamanaka’s landmark discovery that adult skin cells could be reprogrammed into embryonic-like induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by introducing selected embryonic genes into adult cells, laboratories all over the world have been using modifications of... Read more

The Scientific Peer Review Process and its Limitations

Posted 16 July 2013 by Jalees Rehman

"...I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." Richard P Feynman, "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out"   It may be useful for non-specialists who are not actively involved in the scientific peer review process to get some insight into what constitutes “scientific peer review”. This blog post will give an overview of the peer review process, primarily based on... Read more

Blind Peers: A Path To Equality In Scientific Peer Review?

Posted 30 May 2013 by Jalees Rehman

There is a fundamental asymmetry that exists in contemporary peer review of scientific papers. Most scientific journals do not hide the identity of the authors of a submitted manuscript. The scientific reviewers, on the other hand, remain anonymous. Their identities are only known to the editors, who use the assessments of these scientific reviewers to help decide whether or not to accept a scientific manuscript. Even though the comments of the reviewers are usually passed along to the authors of... Read more

New Directions In Scientific Peer Review

Posted 13 February 2013 by Jalees Rehman

Most scientists have a need-hate relationship with scientific peer review. We know that we need some form of peer review, because it is an important quality control measure that is supposed to help prevent the publication of scientifically invalid results. However, we also tend to hate scientific peer review in its current form, because we have had many frustrating experiences with it. We recently submitted a manuscript to a journal, where it was stuck for more than one year, undergoing... Read more

Is Kindness Key to Happiness and Acceptance for Children?

Posted 28 December 2012 by Jalees Rehman

The study "Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being" published by Layous and colleagues in the journal PLOS One on December 26, 2012 was cited by multiple websites as proof of how important it is to teach children to be kind. NPR commented on the study in the blog post "Random Acts Of Kindness Can Make Kids More Popular", and the study was also discussed in ScienceDaily in "Kindness Key to Happiness and Acceptance for... Read more

Great Expectations For Scientific Publication: How Digital Publishing Is Helping Science

Posted 22 November 2012 by Jalees Rehman

I recently came across a rant that lamented the advent of digital publishing, open access publishing and self-publishing in science. The rant was published in the Huffington Post as a “digital” blog post (ah, the irony), entitled “50 Shades of Grey in Scientific Publication: How Digital Publishing Is Harming Science”. It was reminiscent of the rants that might have been uttered by calligraphers who were upset about the emergence of Gutenberg’s printing press or concerns of European aristocrats in the... Read more