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The Bully Pulpit of Peer Review?

The Scholarly Kitchen's Tim Vines notes that "the opinions of highly respected senior scientists tend to get a lot of attention, and a number have lamented the state of peer review." Because of this, he asks: "What if the reviewer experience for high-profile researchers is the exception and not the rule?"

Touching on an oft-expressed gripe about peer review — that "the rapid growth in the number of papers submitted to journals has led to a massive increase in the demands on the reviewer community," he says — Vines digs into data on reviewer invitations by rank and prestige. In the context of the journal Molecular Ecology, Vines found that "the main predictor of how often someone was invited was how much they published" there. So, contrary to popular thought, " the data … actually suggest that being famous generally makes you less likely to be invited. … However, as a researcher you can only be central to one field, and peripheral to lots of others, and hence being famous may mean you attract review invitations from many different disciplines," Vines says.

Overall, he adds, "the big picture here is that senior academics are being bombarded with requests to review papers. … There's little evidence above that junior researchers are overburdened." And that, Vines says, is perhaps why some senior scientists might have a biased view on the state of peer review.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.