APE2008 more thoughts

Because there was no electricity and wireless at the APE meeting ( APE 2008) I took some notes, but they seem rather dry now and have lost some of the immediacy. So I shall use the meeting to catalyze some thoughts.
Michael Mabe – CEO STM – gave a useful presentation about facts in publishing, but they don’t read well in this blog a week later.  The growth of publishing is not new – ca 3.5 percent for the last 300 years. So it’s a good thing that we’ve gone digital or the whole world will be drowned in the Journal Event Horizon (cf Shoe Event Horizon). 1 million authors, over 1 billion article downloads. The primary motive of authors is to disseminate their ideas (it’s reassuring to know that as we can plan new ways of doing it).
An afternoon session from with some snippets (rather random):
Ulrich Poeschel, Mainz,
in “bad papers” main problem is carelessness, not fraud, etc.,    overly superficial superficial reports of experiment, non-traceable arguments. He described interactive/dynamic publishing where review has several stages (but I can’t remember his journal – maybe it was Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics??
Traditional peer review is not efficient today,    editors and referees have limited capacity,    too few editors and reviewers
traditional discussion papers are very rare – originally 1/20 papers were commented, now => 1/100
speed conflicts with thorough review
so develop speed first, review later
discussion paper = upper-class preprint (some pre-selection)
lengthier traditional peer-review later
referees can maintain anonymity – self-regulation works
rewards for well-prepared papers
most limiting factor is refreeing capacity
total rejection rate only ca 10%, so referees effort is saved
deters careless papers – self-regaultion through transparency
5 comments/paper – 1/4 papers get public comment
comment volume is 50% of publication
now #1 in atmospheric phys, #2 in geosciences
Catriona MacCallum:    PLoS – …
journals and discussion cannot capture discussions in ways that blogs do – blogs are self-selecting communities     TOPAZ is open source publishing software – makes connections between all components of publishing systems – blogs, documents, data, services …
Linda Miller Nature.
Purpose of peer-review is to decide where paper should be published
protects public (e.g. health and large policy)
avoids chasing spurious results
quality of review is decreasing
open trial for commenting on (PMR: I think) regular Nature papers.
12% of regular authors (PMR: I assume this is in Nature) accepted comment trial – mainly earth, eco, evo, physics
half papers had comments
comment’s average score was 2/5 -(i.e. comments weren’t very good)
no chemistry, genomics, genomics
low awareness of trial
why do people not comment? Overwork – no incentive?
so we need:
motivation for PR
stable identifier for reviewer
high ratings on pubmed
checks and balances on retributions
critical mass of submissions
referees need to get credit
need to develop online reputation score
CVs should include this
change is inevitale execpt from vending machine (Robert C Gallagher)
My next thoughts will hopefully include:

  • role of librarians
  • beyond the full-text
  • legal and contractual stuff
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  1. Pingback: Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - petermr’s blog » Blog Archive » APE2008 thoughts on domain repositories

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