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Peer Reviewed Journals Being Expedited for Money

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posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 08:38 PM

With a tweet yesterday, an editor of Scientific Reports, one of Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG’s) open-access journals, has resigned in a very public protest of NPG’s recent decision to allow authors to pay money to expedite peer review of their submitted papers.


In my mind, science sells itself. A theory is proposed, tested and vigorously reviewed in a manner that validates by consensus. It happens in a natural way, like how a flower unfolds. A swift and heavy hand was never meant to interfere with such a delicate process.

NPG announced earlier this week that it was trying out the peer-review service, called Rubriq, provided by Research Square, a company based in Durham, North Carolina. For a $750 payment to NPG, authors are guaranteed a review within 3 weeks or they get their money back. NPG declined to say how much of that money goes to Research Square.

Science and money need a divorce. This latest trend seems to make it easier for politicians to use scientific data in order to reshape longstanding policies in a short amount of time.The question was asked, how does the company perform such quick reviews?

How does the company perform such quick reviews? “We have about 100 employees with Ph.D.s,” says Research Square’s CEO, Shashi Mudunuri. That small army of editors recruits scientists around the world as reviewers, guiding the papers through the review process. The reviewers get paid $100 for each completed review. The review process itself is also streamlined, using an online “scorecard” instead of the traditional approach of comments, questions, and suggestions. The company also offers services directly to authors, saying it can help them improve papers and find placement with a journal.

Research Square has about 1400 active reviewers who have scored 920 papers to date. Does anyone else find this "scorecard" reviewing process a little shallow and discouraging?

The Nature Publishing Group's defense was also quite telling by saying "a number of other publishers offer fast track services". I guess I've been out of the loop and was not aware of this growing trend. The review companies are very tight lipped about who they serve.

Some are speaking out. One guy stated in the comments that he and additional editors of Scientific Reports have sent a letter detailing their concerns about the new approach. Twenty eight other editors have signed it.

The letter: PDF

There are many companies that come to mind who would gladly exploit this fast tracking system using their deep pockets and persuasion over public opinion. And who knows how much insult the MSM will add to this injury by jumping the gun. How this is anything but a blow towards the conventional review process is beyond me.

edit on 31-3-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 08:42 PM
Welcome to corporate science.

I had a PhD student come to me and with frustration, said he was having a problem with his data, he has to have it look good in his paper.

I said, but that's empirical science. He looked at me and then continued on.

There you go. Welcome to corporate science.

All we need now is a CMMI constellation for Research and then we can dish out Maturity levels for a price, like companies do today.

Universities as lowering their standards, now some are skipping Masters (second cycle) to allow Bachelor get entry to Phd, and even with that they are lowering the high bar to 70% no longer 75% pass to get First Class classifications. Why? they cannot get the people to sign up for Phd's so they lower the bar of entry AND they set them a quantity of papers to submit during that period.

Why? RANKINGS, RATINGS, they are rated based on their output. Not quality empirical research, otherwise they lose their grants. If they cant get students to do the work, they no longer can get the grants.

A very worrying trend and a early bad sign is when Universities change their logos. Corporate rebranding. If you see a institute doing that, walk in the other direction fast. They also spam their students with corporate type emails. It is simply ridiculous.

Been there done that seen it first hand.

edit on 31-3-2015 by bullcat because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 08:50 PM
a reply to: bullcat

Wait a second, you mean to tell me that "science" has been corrupted by corporations!

I thought they were immune to it, college education makes sure all students believe in the infallible nature of the "scientific community" they could not possible be a part of some kind of conspiracy!

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 08:51 PM

originally posted by: elementalgrove
a reply to: bullcat

Wait a second, you mean to tell me that "science" has been corrupted by corporations!

I thought they were immune to it, college education makes sure all students believe in the infallible nature of the "scientific community" they could not possible be a part of some kind of conspiracy!

Universities have become corporations.

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 09:01 PM
a reply to: bullcat

I realized this when I researched the origins of Allopathic medicine--and this the flexnor report

"As mentioned previously, the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations traditionally worked together almost as one in the furtherance of their mutual goals, and this certainly was no exception. The Flexner brothers represented the lens that brought both the Rockefeller and the Carnegie fortunes into sharp focus on the unsuspecting and thoroughly vulnerable medical profession.” (He Who Pays The Piper – Creation of the Modern Medical (drug) Establishment; G. Edward Griffin)

Add to that the origins of the General Education Board

You begin to see a trend

“In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply."

Quote attributed to - Rev. Frederick T. Gates, Business Advisor to John D. Rockefeller Sr., 1913

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 09:24 PM
a reply to: bullcat

Thank you for your insightful post. I couldn't imagine being in a position that would allow this to happen. Reminds me of the struggle students are facing with standardized testing. A quick "scorecard" of your abilities will determine placement.

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