Listed-third author gets to refer to it as a second-author-paper when the first two are co-equal first authors, right?
Archive for the 'Scientific Publication' category
Utter failure to gain clarity.
It isn't as though I insist that each and every published paper everywhere and anywhere is going to be of substantial value. Sure, there may be a few studies, now and then, that really don't ever contribute to furthering understanding. For anyone, ever. The odds favor this and do not favor absolutes. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that the "clutter", "signal to noise", "complete story" and "LPU=bad" dingdongs feel that it is a substantial amount of the literature that we are talking about. Right? Because if you are bothering to mention something under 1% of what you happen across in this context then you are a very special princess-flower indeed.
Second, I wonder about the day to day experiences of people that bring them to this. What are they doing and how are they reacting? When I am engaging with the literature on a given topic of interest, I do a lot of filtering even with the assistance of PubMed. I think, possibly I am wrong here, that this is an
essential ESSENTIAL part of my job as a scientist. You read the studies and you see how it fits together in your own understanding of the natural world (or unnatural one if that's your gig). Some studies will be tour-de-force bravura evidence for major parts of your thinking. Some will provide one figure's worth of help. Some will merely sow confusion...but proper confusion to help you avoid assuming some thing is more likely to be so than it is. In finding these, you are probably discarding many papers on reading the title, on reading the Abstract, on the first quick scan of the figures.
So what? That's the job. That's the thing you are supposed to be doing. It is not the fault of those stupid authors who dared to publish something of interest to themselves that your precious time had to be wasted determining it was of no interest to you. Nor is it any sign of a problem of the overall enterprise.
Thoughts on the Least Publishable Unit
Yet, publishing LPU's clearly hasn't harmed some prominent people. You wouldn't be able to get a job today if you had a CV full of LPU's and shingled papers, and you most likely wouldn't get promoted either. But perhaps there is some point at which the shear number of papers starts to impress people. I don't completely understand this phenomenon.
We had some incidental findings that we didn't think worthy of a separate publication. A few years later, another group replicated and published our (unpublished) "incidental" results. Their paper has been cited 12 times in the year and a half since publication in a field-specific journal with an impact factor of 6. It is incredibly difficult to predict in advance what other scientists will find useful. Since data is so expensive in time and money to generate, I would much, much rather there be too many publications than too few (especially given modern search engines and electronic databases).
For reference, Scicurious' proposal
What if manuscript submission could be as good as a one-shot?
Like this: you submit a paper to a large umbrella of journals of several "tiers". It goes out for review. The reviewers make their criticisms. Then they say "this paper is fine, but it's not impactful enough for journal X unless major experiments A, B, and C are done. However, it could fit into journal Y with only experiment A, or into journal Z with only minor revisions". Or they have the option to reject it outright for all the journals in question. Where there is discrepancy (as usual) the editor makes the call.
and the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium.
The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium is an alliance of neuroscience journals that have agreed to accept manuscript reviews from other members of the Consortium. Its goals are to support efficient and thorough peer review of original research in neuroscience, speed the publication of research reports, and reduce the burden on peer reviewers.
I think these schemes are flawed for a simple reason. As I noted in a comment at Sci's digs....
Nobody bucking for IF immediately goes (significantly) down. They go (approximately) lateral and hope to get lucky. The NPRC is a classic example. At several critical levels there is no lateral option. And even if there was, the approximately equal IF journals are in side-eyeing competition...me, I sure as hell don't want the editors of Biol Psychiatry, J. Neuro and Neuropsychopharmacology knowing that I've been rejected by one or two of the other ones first.
I also contest the degree to which a significantly "lower" journal thinks that it is, indeed, lower and a justifiable recipient of the leavings. Psychopharmacology, for example, is a rightful next stop after Neuropsychopharmacology but somehow I don't think ol' Klaus is going to take your manuscript any easier just because the NPP decision was "okay, but just not cool enough". Think NPP and Biol Psych are going to roll over for your Nature Neuroscience reject? hell no. Not until their reviewers say "go".
This NPRC thing has been around since about 2007. I find myself intensely curious about how it has been going. I'd like to see some data in terms of how many authors choose to use it (out of the total manuscripts rejected from each participating journal), how many paper are subsequently accepted at another consortium journal, the network paths between journals for those that are referred, etc.
My predictions are that referrals are very rare, that they are inevitably downward in journal IF and that they don't help very much. With respect to this latter, I mean that I bet it is a further minority of the manuscripts that use this system that are subsequently accepted by the second journal editor on the strength of the original reviews and some stab by the authors at a minimal revision (i.e., as if they'd gotten minor-revisions from the original editor instead of rejection).
One fascinating, unknowable curiosity is the desk reject factor. The NPRC could possibly know how many of the second editors did desk rejects of the referred manuscripts based on the forwarded reviews. That would be interesting to see. But what they can't know is how many of those would have been sent out for review if the reviews had not been forwarded. And if they had been sent out for review, what fraction would have received good enough reviews (for the presumptively more pedestrian journal) that they would have made it in.
Relevant to Sci's recent ranting about the paper chase in science...
Sorry reviewers, I am not burning a year and $250K to satisfy your curiosity about something stupid for a journal of this IF.
Occasionally during the review of careers or grant applications you will see dismissive comments on the journals in which someone has published their work. This is not news to you. Terms like "low-impact journals" are wonderfully imprecise and yet deliciously mean. Yes, it reflects the fact that the reviewer himself couldn't be bothered to actually review the science IN those paper, nor to acquaint himself with the notorious skew of real world impact that exists within and across journals.
More hilarious to me is the use of the word "tier". As in "The work from the prior interval of support was mostly published in second tier journals...".
It is almost always second tier that is used.
But this is never correct in my experience.
If we're talking Impact Factor (and these people are, believe it) then there is a "first" tier of journals populated by Cell, Nature and Science.
In the Neurosciences, the next tier is a place (IF in the teens) in which Nature Neuroscience and Neuron dominate. No question. THIS is the "second tier".
A jump down to the IF 12 or so of PNAS most definitely represents a different "tier" if you are going to talk about meaningful differences/similarities in IF.
Then we step down to the circa IF 7-8 range populated by J Neuroscience, Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. Demonstrably fourth tier.
So for the most part when people are talking about "second tier journals" they are probably down at the FIFTH tier- 4-6 IF in my estimation.
I also argue that the run of the mill society level journals extend below this fifth tier to a "the rest of the pack" zone in which there is a meaningful perception difference from the fifth tier. So.... Six tiers.
Then we have the paper-bagger dump journals. Demonstrably a seventh tier. (And seven is such a nice number isn't it?)
So there you have it. If you* are going to use "tier" to sneer at the journals in which someone publishes, for goodness sake do it right, will ya?
*Of course it is people** who publish frequently in the third and fourth tier and only rarely in second tier, that use "second tier journal" to refer to what is in the fifth or sixth tier of IFs. Always.
**For those rare few that publish extensively in the first tier, hey, you feel free to describe all the rest as "second tier". Go nuts.
@ianholmes @eperlste @dgmacarthur @caseybergman and i'm not going to stop calling things as they are to avoid hurting people's feelings
@eperlste @ianholmes @dgmacarthur @caseybergman i think the "i should have to right to choose where to publish" argument is bullshit
@eperlste @ianholmes @dgmacarthur @caseybergman funding agencies can set rules for where you can publish if you take their money
This was by way of answering a Twitt from @ianholmes that set him off, I surmise:
@eperlste @dgmacarthur how I decide where to pub is kinda irrelevant. The point is, every scientist MUST have the freedom to decide for self
This whole thing is getting ridiculous. I don't have the unfettered freedom to decide where to publish my stuff and it most certainly is an outcome of the funding agency, in my case the NIH.
Here are the truths that we hold to be self-evident at present time. The more respected the journal in which we publish our work, the better the funding agency "likes" it. This encompasses the whole process from initial peer review of the grant applications, to selection for funding (sometimes via exception pay) to the ongoing review of program officers. It extends not just from the present award, but to any future awards I might be seeking to land.
Where I publish matters to them. They make it emphatically clear in ever-so-many-ways that the more prestigious the journal (which generally means higher IF, but not exclusively this), the better my chances of being continuously funded.
So I agree with @mbeisen about the "I have the right to choose where I publish is bullshit" part, but it is for a very different reason than seems to be motivating his attitude. The NIH already influences where I "choose" to publish my work. As we've just seen in a prior discussion, PLoS ONE is not very high on the prestige ladder with peer reviewers...and therefore not very high with the NIH.
So quite obviously, my funder is telling me not to publish in that particular OA venue. They'd much prefer something of a lower IF that is better respected in the field, say, the journals that have longer track records, happen to sit on the top of the ISI "substance abuse" category or are associated with the more important academic societies. Or perhaps even the slightly more competitive rank of journals associated with academic societies of broader "brain" interest.
Even before we get to the Glamour level....the NIH funding system cares where I publish.
Therefore I am not entirely "free" to choose where I want to publish and it is not some sort of moral failing that I haven't jumped on the exclusive OA bandwagon.
@ianholmes @eperlste @dgmacarthur @caseybergman bullshit - there's no debate - there's people being selfish and people doing the right thing
uh-huh. I'm "selfish" because I want to keep my lab funded in this current skin-of-the-teeth funding environment? Sure. The old one-percenter-of-science monster rears it's increasingly ugly head on this one.
@ianholmes @eperlste @dgmacarthur @caseybergman and we have every right to shame people for failing to live up to ideals of field
What an ass. Sure, you have the right to shame people if you want. And we have the right to point out that you are being an asshole from your stance of incredible science privilege as a science one-percenter. Lecturing anyone who is not tenured, doesn't enjoy HHMI funding, isn't comfortably ensconced in a hard money position, isn't in a highly prestigious University or Institute, may not even have achieved her first professorial appointment yet about "selfishness" is being a colossal dickweed.
Well, you know how I feel about dickweedes.
I do like @mbeisen and I do think he is on the side of angels here*. I agree that all of us need to be challenged and I find his comments to be this, not an unbearable insult. Would it hurt to dip one toe in the PLoS ONE waters? Maybe we can try that out without it hurting us too badly. Can we preach his gospel? Sure, no problem. Can we ourselves speak of PLoS ONE papers on the CVs and Biosketches of the applications we are reviewing without being unjustifiably dismissive of how many notes Amadeus has included? No problem.
So let us try to get past his rhetoric, position of privilege and stop with the tone trolling. Let's just use his frothing about OA to examine our own situations and see where we can help the cause without it putting our labs out of business.
*ETA: meaning Open Access, not his attacks on Twitter
To be absolutely clear, I use the term "dump journal" without malice. Some do, I know, but I do not. I use it to refer to journals of last resort. The ones where you and your subfield are perfectly willing to publish stuff and, more importantly, perfectly willing to cite other papers. Sure, it isn't viewed as awesome, but it is....respectable. The Editor and sub-editors, probably the editorial board, are known people. Established figures who publish most of their own papers in much, much higher IF journals. It is considered a place where the peer review is solid, conducted by appropriate experts who, btw, review extensively for journals higher up the food chain.
What interests me today, Dear Reader, are the perceptions and beliefs of those people who are involved in the dump journal. Authors who submit work there, the Editor and any sub-editors....and the reviewers. Do we all commonly view the venue in question as a "dump journal"? Or are there those that are surprised and a bit offended that anyone else would consider their solid, society level journals as such a thing?
Are there those who recognize that others view the journal as a dump journal but wish to work to change this reputation? By being harsher during the review process than is warranted given the history of the journal? That approach is a game of chicken though...if you think a dump journal is getting too uppity for its current IF then you are going to just move on to some other journal for your data-dumping purposes, are you not? If a publisher or journal staff wanted to make a serious move up the relative rankings, they'd better have a plan and a steely nerve if you ask me.
This brings me around to my fascination with PLoS ONE and subjective notions of its quality and importance. What IS this journal? Is it a dumping grounds for stuff you had rejected elsewhere on "importance" and "impact" grounds and you just want the damn data out there already? That would qualify as a dump journal in my view. Or do you view it as a potential primary venue...because it enjoys an IF in the 4s and that's well into run-of-the-mill decent for your subfield?
Furthermore, how does this color your interaction with the journal? I know we have a few folks around here who function as Academic Editors. Are you one of those that thinks PLoS ONE should be ever upping its "quality" in an attempt to improve the reputation? Do you fear it becoming a "dump journal"? Or do you embrace that status?
Are you involved with another journal that some might consider a dump journal for your field? Do you think of it this way yourself? Or do see it as a solid journal and it is that other journal, 0.245 IF points down, which is the real dump journal?
For some reason the response on Twittah to the JSTOR downloader guy killing himself has been a round of open access bragging. People are all proud of themselves for posting all of their accepted manuscripts in their websites, thereby achieving personal open access.
But here is my question.... How many of you are barraged by requests for reprints? That's the way open access on the personal level has always worked. I use it myself to request things I can't get to by the journal's site. The response is always prompt from the communicating author.
Seems to me that the only reason to post the manuscripts is when you are fielding an inordinate amount of reprint requests and simply cannot keep up. Say...more than one per week?
So are you? Are you getting this many requests?
First, let's all enjoy the bliss of, count 'em, EIGHT authors who....
1D.S., A.B., M. Maroteaux, T.J., C.P.M., R.S., J.-A.G., and G.S. contributed equally to this work.
To make it extra hilarious please note that the first four are listed first authors and the last four are...listed last authors.
This is ridiculous. Going by the affiliations of the first four and the last four (and knowing a little something about the careers status of several of the last four) it looks very much like typical trainee-PI pairings in a multi-group collaboration. Consequently it would make considerably more sense to identify the four trainees and the four PIs as contributing equally compared with each other...but not across the trainee/PI divide.
But really, the discussion of the day is raised by a
troll communication to the blog.
As you know there are style guides for journals as to how previous studies are to be cited and how they are to be referred to in the text. One typical style guide might suggest that you use "As shown by Gun et al (2009), the PhysioWhimple nucleus is critical in...". You might also resort to the more conversational "Gun and colleagues demonstrated...".
Very good, right?
Now what about when the paper in question indicates co-equal contribution, eh? Then you should say "Genedog, Tideliar and colleagues showed....". Right? You should absolutely insist on including the name of the co-equal authors, should you not?
Especially if you are one of those who insists that this designation is meaningful...
h/t: a certain troll