BioDiverse Perspectives is a new, ambitious ecology blog co-authored by a whole bunch of grad students from around the world. They blog about important issues and key papers (old and new) relating to “biodiversity”, a term they define broadly. I’m of course pleased to see several nice early posts on topics near and dear to my heart (e.g., here and here). Well worth checking out, both for students and faculty.
Carnival of Evolution #56 now up at Lab Rat.
Another attempt to reform the peer review process: Rubriq. It’s a private author-pays peer review service. Basically, authors pay a fee to submit a paper to Rubriq, which uses a chunk of that fee to pay reviewers who complete a standardized reviewing scorecard in a few days. Rubriq then recommends journals that are well-matched to the ms, to which the author can then submit the ms and the reviews. Rubriq members can both submit to and review for the Rubriq service, and so presumably can try to cover the fees they pay as authors by doing reviewing. The emphasis is very much on cutting the time from submission to publication. The idea seems to be that, by spending a bit of cash, you as an author can significantly speed the time to publication at whatever journal you want, as opposed to speeding the time to publication by submitting to a fast and unselective journal. There’s an interview with one of the Rubriq founders, covering many of the most obvious questions, at Scholarly Kitchen. Personally, I can’t see myself joining Rubric, although I’m sure others could see themselves doing so. I just don’t care enough about getting reviews that fast to want to pay something like $700 on top of whatever fees the journal might charge. Plus, at the moment, I doubt that selective journals in ecology would take the scorecard-type reviews Rubriq provides, meaning that using the Rubriq service wouldn’t actually be a way for me to speed the time to publication at my first-choice journals (not surprisingly, Rubriq’s initial focus seems to be in biomedical fields). I also have my doubts about how well they’ll be able to prevent reviewers from filling out their reviewer scorecards in quick, sloppy fashion. Owen Petchey and I had to think about that same issue when we were developing our “PubCreds” proposal (see also here).
From the archives: