(I know at least one reader will be interested in this, thus making it a topic theme worth continuing…)
I have of late been banging my head at the ongoing frustration borne of repeat attempts to post comment on a pretty questionable, seemingly homeopathy-lauding paper published in a scientific medical journal. Yesterday, my eye was caught by something over at the BioMed Central blog, whence appeared an interesting post, entitled ‘Can open peer review work? Biology Direct suggests it can…’
Although Biology Direct is not the source of my irritation, it shares the BMC stable. Hence I take it that comments in the Editorial to which the blog post refers perhaps apply to other BMC journals. Indeed, BMC Cancer likewise apparently operates:
‘… open peer review, under which the signed reviews and the author responses are published as an integral part of the final version of each article.’
That Editorial states of this policy:
‘… we expected that [it] would generate productive scientific debate that would substantially add to the content of an article, in particular by alerting readers to potential problems with the reviewed work as well as additional relevant data and ideas.’
An ethos one might not unreasonably expect to extend to reader comments.
Why then is it so damned difficult to get a comment posted on a paper at BMC Cancer?!
Update (3/5/13 @ 1800): I’ve just received alert informing me that another comment containing a link to the newly-published paper I briefly discussed last week has just gone live. As has (@ 1830) the previous longer comment (included at the foot of last week’s post). Which is nice. Thanks to Ciaran O’Neill and BMC Central admin.
Providing the scientific community with a forum to discuss articles following publication is something BioMed Central believes to be valuable, and provides on all journals. Unfortunately the comments function is temporarily unavailable due to a technical issue, which we are working to resolve. All comments made during this time will be moderated once the issue is resolved – apologies for the inconvenience.
The peer-review policies of Biology Direct, which are to include named reviews as part of the published article, appear in full here: http://www.biology-direct.com/about
BMC Cancer also operates an open peer review policy meaning reviewers are asked to sign their reviews. The pre-publication history including all submitted versions, reviewers’ reports and authors’ responses will be linked to from the published article. More information is available from the journal information page here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmccancer/about
It seems my contact via your blog post has brought dividends – many thanks for sorting this.