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Back to the Drawing Board for Peer Review

Nature's experiment with an open peer review process has ended, according to an editorial in today's issue ($) of the journal. The trial, which began in June, aimed to size up another model for peer review, as the existing scheme has begun to show its flaws (remember those papers in Science that were recently retracted?) and continues to be a burden on reviewers.

For the new process, authors were given the option of opening up their papers, prior to publication, for comment from the community. In Nature's examination of the trial, they wrote, "Despite the significant interest in the trial, only a small proportion of authors opted to participate." For those who did, their papers received few responses. "Feedback suggests that there is a marked reluctance among researchers to offer open comments," Nature concludes.

In its latest editorial, Nature says it will continue looking into new approaches to peer review, such as allowing comments on articles after they're published. Hey, Nature -- ever noticed at conferences that most people aren't especially vocal until the bar opens? There's a model worth exploring.

 

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.