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A Jury of Your Peers


Get three scientists together, and it's almost a guarantee that the conversation will eventually turn toward the vagaries of the peer review process. Be it for winning grant funding or getting a paper published, this system of relying on a handful of fellow scientists to select the most promising and influential research shapes — at least to some degree — every single researcher's career path.

What's funny about peer review is that, while scientists are happy to talk about it in person, there are surprisingly few papers in the scientific literature about the merits and pitfalls of the process. Here at Genome Technology, that situation spells opportunity — so we thought we'd help spur the debate with a cover story on the subject. In the article, we look at challenges in the peer review process both for grants and for papers, opportunities to improve the current system, and themes that span the range of funding to literature, such as anonymity and interdisciplinary research.

In other articles this month, don't miss our feature on cancer stem cells and the controversy surrounding the role these cells play in the onset of disease. We also look at array CGH, a technology that is reshaping how diseases are evaluated in the clinic. Our Under One Roof this month checks out the genomics institute at the University of Miami, while Lab Reunion profiles that University of Washington tour de force, Mary Lidstrom.

On a personal note, this will be my last letter as editor of GT. It has truly been a privilege and a pleasure to be here for the past six years, and to have readers as terrific as you. The new editor will be Ciara Curtin, who has been a tremendous asset to the magazine since she joined and will provide a welcome fresh voice on this page and throughout GT. For my part, I'm not going far — I'll be staying here at GenomeWeb and taking on a new challenge as editor in chief of the company.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.