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They Don't Call it Peerless Review

I received an Email advertising the new journal __Autophagy__ today. In a list of features about the journal, the Email adds: ?We also point out that we have an expedited review process if your paper was rejected from a ?flashy? journal; we all know that even solid papers do not always get accepted into the top general audience journals.? The policy is expanded on a bit in their linkurl:submission guidelines here;http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/autophagy/guidelines.php?PHPSESSID=85d

By | January 13, 2006

I received an Email advertising the new journal __Autophagy__ today. In a list of features about the journal, the Email adds: ?We also point out that we have an expedited review process if your paper was rejected from a ?flashy? journal; we all know that even solid papers do not always get accepted into the top general audience journals.? The policy is expanded on a bit in their linkurl:submission guidelines here;http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/autophagy/guidelines.php?PHPSESSID=85d0345c9faf0c6ba96b32c4a2d8f7ca, leaving no doubt as to what they regard as ?flashy.? Is this bit of editorializing in their marketing campaign an indictment of the journals, the peer review process, or just an attempt to capitalize on scientists? frustration? Peer review is on everyone?s lips, and the natives are getting restless. The fallout from the Hwang Woo-Suk debacle has news pundits linkurl:taking pot shots;http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10791811/site/newsweek/ at top journals and the editors from the same journals linkurl:sniping at each other;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/22934/. At the same time, they?re doing their best to remind researchers in the trenches that publishing in __Science__ and __Nature__ isn?t all that difficult. A funny story about competing seminars set to elucidate peer review at the two leading journals appears on linkurl:Alan Packer?s Free Association;http://blogs.nature.com/ng/freeassociation/2006/01/merchandise_7x_and_other_secrets.html blog. But the push to make peer review transparent isn?t new and although it may be more visible because of Hwang, the major reason is to assuage that nagging feeling that the big journals don?t just cater to elite science, but to an elitist clique of scientists, eschewing good science for hefty names or lofty claims. In two weeks, we?re going to press with an investigative look at peer review process at big journals. News editor Alison McCook spent months talking with editors and scientists to get at the root of an increasing number of rejections and lingering suspicion that the peer review process just isn?t working.
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