More on non-barking editors

Douglas Fitts dfitts at carson.u.washington.edu
Thu Jun 17 00:31:26 EST 1993



In bionet.journals.note Jane Harper writes:

>On the subject of peer review, etc.:  Did anybody else read the article in 
>the _Journal of NIH Research_ about the "old boy network" which blasted _Cell_,
>_Nature_, and _Science_ -- with some pretty astounding statistics about who
>publishes whom?

>Once again, sigh, it seems that it's not _what_ you know, but instead _who_ you
>know.

As someone who has just had a delightful article refused by _Science_
*prior* to any peer review, I have decided to quit my long-time membership
in AAAS.  I received no rationale for rejection.  Several esteemed
colleagues agreed it was _Science_ material, although one of them
offered to bet it would be refused without review. 

I didn't take the bet.

Why?  It happens not to be on the topic of molecular biology, 
astrophysics, ecology, or material science (broadly put).  For years
Science has been advertising that they don't get enough papers from
*other* disciplines and that's the reason they seem so narrow. 
In our case, behavioral neuroscience, there are perhaps five papers a 
year published.  The papers cited by our article included numerous
ones published in Science from years ago, including the seminal papers 
in the conflict.  

Maybe our paper really wasn't worth your time to read it?  Perhaps it
wasn't good enough for Science?  Perhaps is wasn't of great appeal to
a broad audience (don't make me laugh)?  Perhaps they (?) didn't
believe it?  

I wish I could tell you which it was, but I can't.  They gave me no
clue.  I have no idea what the qualifications of the person(s) who
rejected it are.  I say rejected it rather than *read* it, because there
is no evidence that it was read at all.  Perhaps they read only the
title.  

Gimme a break.

It'll be published.  It's now gone to another highly prestigious
journal, but one with a stictly PEER review.  My peers will like it.

As for the anonymous persons at Science who rejected it, well, 
I hope they got paid enough.  


>On the other hand -- if those _are_ the rules of the game, let's get on with
>playing it.


Nah, sorry, deal me out, Jane.


>Jane Harper
>jharper at itsa.ucsf.edu

Doug Fitts
dfitts at u.washington.edu



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