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Re: Peer Review - An Editor's Point of View



In a message dated 11/8/2002 9:26:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
KCarpenter@dmns.org writes:

< I have been monitoring the discussions about peer review and feel that I 
should step in and offer some points of view from an editor's point of view. 
Most of you know that I have edited several scholarly books on dinosaurs (4, 
with 3 more in development), but I am also associate editor for the Journal 
of Vertebrate Paleontology and for the journal Earth Sciences History. In 
addition, I teach Research Methods and Report Writing class at the museum 
here. Thus, I am well qualified to address this issue of peer review. >

A big thanks to Ken for taking the time to write this excellent complement to 
our list discussion in late October ("Peering at Review").

< First, however, to clarify an issue. There is a mistaken belief that if you 
are a professional paleontologist, you are guaranteed to get your paper 
published. Nothing could be farther from the truth. >
What are your criteria for including papers in your above books?  What is 
your opinion on self-publishing?

< any of the rest of you. Some professional paleotologists publish very 
little in their life time because for them the review process is too 
emotional. The sting of review comments or rejection hurts too much and they 
are not able to get beyond it. >
But as Chris Brochu pointed out in October, academic paleontologists are 
under the publish or perish rule.  

< publish it elsewhere. And that raises another issue: not ever journal is 
suitable for your manuscript. The editors for Palaeontographica were correct 
that their journal was not the correct outlet for Greg's and my manuscript. 
With JVP, we are having to make harder choices regarding suitable 
manuscripts. >
Perhaps someday Henry Gee will post to a suitable forum ( :-) ), the 
requisites for being published in Nature.

< My advice to someone wanting to improve their writing, there are books on 
scientific writing - READ THEM. I strongly recommend "Successful Scientific 
Writing" by J. Matthews, J. Bowen, and R. Matthews (Cambridge University 
Press). If you are unwilling to be trained, then you have no one to blame but 
yourself if your manuscript gets rejected - and that is NOT a conspiracy.  ? >
Good advice, and listening to what other people say about one's hypothesis 
might be helpful.  

>From Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org - "New papers in Senckenbergiana Lethaea and 
more:"
< Carpenter, K. 2002. Forelimb biomechanics of nonavian 
theropod dinosaurs in predation. Senckenbergiana-Lethaea.  
82(1): 59-76. >
Could you give us some background on your paper being published in this 
journal?

Mary