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Perspectives from early career researchers on the publication process in ecology – a response to Statzner & Resh (2010)
SCHAEFER, R. B., S. J. COOKE, R. ARLINGHAUS, N. BONADA, F. BRISCHOUX, A. F. CASPER, J. A. CATFORD, AND V. ROLLAND. Perspectives from early career researchers on the publication process in ecology – a response to Statzner & Resh (2010). FRESHWATER BIOLOGY. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 56(11):2405-2412, (2011).
Response to an earlier opinion piece from two senior scientists in the field. The paper reviews some key trends and contraints from a different and international perspective.
Two senior ecologists summarised their experience of the scientific publication process (Statzner & Resh, Freshwater Biology, 2010; 55, 2639) to generate discussion, particularly among early career researchers (ECRs). As a group of eight ECRs, we comment on the six trends they described. We generally agree with most of the trends identified by Statzner & Resh (2010), but also highlight a number of divergent perspectives and provide recommendations for change. Trends of particular concern are the use of inappropriate metrics to evaluate research quality (e.g. impact factor) and the salami slicing of papers to increase paper count. We advocate a transparent and comprehensive system for evaluating the research. We stress the importance of impartiality and independence in the peer review process. We therefore suggest implementation of double-blind review and quality control measures for reviewers and possibly editors. Besides such structural changes, editors should be confident to overrule biased reviewer recommendations, while reviewers should provide helpful reviews but be explicit if a submission does not meet quality standards. Authors should always conduct a thorough literature search and acknowledge historical scientific ideas and methods. Additionally, authors should report low-quality copy editing and reviews to the editors. Both early and late career researchers should jointly implement these recommendations to reverse the negative trends identified by Statzner & Resh (2010). However, more senior scientists will always have to take the lead with respect to structural changes in the publication system given that they occupy the majority of decision-making positions.
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Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION
BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS AND POPULATION RESPONSE BRANCH