Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Journal, All-New Rules

(Article in the Times Higher Education by Paul Jump)

3 major biomedical funders UK Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US and the Max Planck Society are proposing to launch their own as yet untitled open access  journal next summer.  The funders have confirmed that the journal will span the Life Sciences, will be open to all researchers and will be edited by senior practising scientists without interference from the funders.
The impetus has come from a belief that the process of peer review needs to be owned by professional scientists. They cite what they term as the level of “nitpicking” that is going on unchecked because editors do not have the scientific knowledge to know when to call a halt.
The reviewers for the new journal (who may be paid) will commit to completing the review process in 3 to 4 weeks. The point was also made that journal editors are worried about the impact of their journal and will favour “ paradigm shifting discoveries “over solid scientific work.   Dr. Tijan (President of the Howard Hughes Institute said “but very often what happens in complex biological systems is the first few papers are wrong. Interest wanes..when in fact the best science is done two years down the line.”
 While there is opposition to the idea on the grounds that a journal needs professional editors,and that it would be better to make existing journals open access ,the last word goes to Dr. Tijan
 “Cost is not the biggest thing for us. We are more interested in the quality of the published papers and how to make the editing process efficient and rapid”.
Read the entire article in Times Higher Education 7-13, July, 2011, available online

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