Issue 89

Editors altering reviewer reports


NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing. The final NIH policy draft has now been published. The policy does not mandate data sharing, but does require a data management and sharing plan. Well, at least this will be helpful when submitting the results of such research to journals that do require data sharing.

Closed countries, open data. An overview in Research Information that explores whether the pandemic has brought an increase in data sharing. The conclusion appears that there has been a lot of activity in repositories (in parallel to publishers seeing more submissions), but it may be too early to tell if there will be a long-term net effect.

CHORUS and DataCite sign agreement to advance linking and discoverability. The agreement will improve the metadata used by CHORUS and incorporates DataCite doi in CHORUS reports. 


Delete offensive language? Change recommendations? Some editors say it’s OK to alter peer reviews. This Science news report, based on a recent preprint, demonstrates an astonishingly lax attitude of some journal editors towards editing reviewer reports without reviewer’s permission. In the more problematic cases — reviewer reports that contain offensive or inappropriate language — I’d argue that the concern of the editor rather ought to be whether to consider such a report at all. Editing inappropriate reports without permission and presumably without feeding back to the reviewer to me points to problematic attitudes. (see table below)

Scientific Journals Commit to Diversity, but Lack the Data. The New York Times has explored the clear lack of diversity in academic publishing. Accurate numbers can be hard to come by, but the problem is clear, and publishers (including PLOS) are committed to reporting on that lack of diversity and to improve diversity of staff and contributors.


Scholarly Societies in the Age of COVID. Laura Brown and Roger C. Schonfeld explore how scientific societies are coping with the repercussions of the pandemic. There are financial concerns as for example revenue from conferences has been impacted. Other concerns are around membership numbers or publishing activities.

On the road less traveled: A Black physicist’s journey in academia. Brooke Russell provides a personal report on her sometimes difficult journey in academia to a PhD in physics. She is the first Black woman to receive a doctorate in physics from Yale University. Her essay appears in Physics Today


ASAPbio Community Call November 2020. The meeting covers preprint journal clubs, such as the PREreview journal clubs. November 5, 5 pm London local time.

Bringing equal opportunity to highly selective publishing: PLOS and libraries partnering on collective action. An opportunity to learn more about PLOS’ new publishing model. November 10, 11:30 am US Eastern Time.

Editors editing reviewer reports

Situations in which journal editors may edit a reviewer report. 
Credit (CC-BY): Hamilton, Daniel G., Hannah Fraser, Rink Hoekstra, and Fiona Fidler. 2020. “Journal Policies and Editors’ Opinions on Peer Review.” MetaArXiv. August 6. doi:10.31222/