Also this week: journal editors altering reviews (?!), LGBT+ scientists on how to promote inclusion, and more.
An argument that Canadian higher education is likely looking at many more years of flat or decreasing budgets in real terms, because one of the the historic rationales for public funding of higher education is outdated and the other no longer has a political constituency. Sounds plausible to me, but I really don’t know nearly enough to evaluate it.
News report in Science on an as-yet-unreviewed survey of almost 300 high-impact journal editors, finding that 8% of them are willing to edit a reviewer’s report without the reviewer’s knowledge or permission if they disagree with it. I’m surprised it’s even as high as that (but unlike the survey authors, I wouldn’t assume 8% is necessarily an underestimate). I’ve been an editor for many years now for two leading journals (first Oikos, now Am Nat). It’s never even occurred to me that editing a reviewer report would be an option, and I’ve never felt the slightest urge to do it for any reason. Plus, at all the leading ecology journals with which I’m familiar as an editor or author, all reviews get shared with the other reviewers as well as the authors at the time the editor’s decision is made, so reviewers would know if their reviews had been altered without their permission. None of my reviews ever have been altered without my permission, nor has any editor ever asked my permission to alter one of my reviews. I say this not to minimize the problem here–editors should not alter reviews just because they disagree with them, and when they do it it’s bad! But at the risk of overgeneralizing from my own anecdotal experiences, I wonder if the problem is best thought of as “there are a few bad editors out there, and the solution is for them to either become better editors or else lose their editorial positions”. Rather than “there is a systemic problem with editors altering reviews, that requires a systemic solution”.
Six LGBT+ scientists on how to promote inclusion. I was interested in the commonalities in their stories and views, and also in the contrasts. For instance, compare this comment from Hontas Farmer:
This August, I started teaching at Elmhurst University in Illinois, in a small community that I’ve found supportive despite its politically conservative reputation. It’s sort of counterintuitive, but I’m confident that a conservative school will stand behind me, because they hired me for my credentials. Be open to finding acceptance anywhere.
with this comment from Sean Edgerton:
It is also incredibly important for lab leaders to not hold meetings, conferences or fieldwork in states, regions or countries that have anti-LGBT+ laws or discriminatory practices.