Every week, Science publishes articles likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. But because those articles aren't featured on Science Careers, our readers could easily overlook them.
To remedy that, every Friday we're pointing readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as the other Science-family publications (ScienceInsider, ScienceNow, Science Translational Medicine—Sci. TM—and Science Signaling)—that hold some relevance or nuggets of advice for readers interested in furthering their careers. (Please note that while articles appearing in ScienceInsider and ScienceNow may be read by anyone, articles appearing in Sci. TM and Science may require AAAS membership/Science subscription or a site license.)
• In the News Focus section of Science this week, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel writes about PubPeer, a Web site that was launched as a platform for open, anonymous peer review of journal articles. "The goal," writes Couzin-Frankel, "is something of a free-for-all journal club, welcoming comments from readers and authors across disciplines."
As it turns out, few people are willing to criticize another scientist's work without anonymity. "I don't want it to impact my scientific life or my personal life," states a site founder who says he's a tenured professor, adding that the phone number from which he was calling "probably won't work after a few days."
Anonymous commenters, however, have proven perhaps too bold. To learn more, read "The Web's Faceless Judges."
• There's another sort of "peer review" that is practiced online, where the masses vote toasters, restaurants, or comments up or down. This week ScienceNow pointed to a study published in Science that is based on a "massive controlled experiment of Web users." The study shows that the "wisdom of crowds" is susceptible to irrational "herd behavior"—and that the herd can be manipulated. On a popular online news aggregator, the researchers found, comments with early, fake positive votes got considerably higher ratings than controls. Interestingly, fake negative votes did not have a negative effect; fake "down" votes usually were negated by a subsequent "up" vote. It's another result with possible implications for certain forms of online peer review.
• Also in Science, a Policy Forum asks, who will pay for access to research data?, raising a key question about the (unfunded) mandate of the Office of Science and Technology Policy requiring that digital data be made available. One issue not addressed—and of considerable interest—is rules about authorship, citations, and so on: If I post my data, can other scientists use it in their own scientific articles? Must they get permission first? If so, from whom? Do they need to make me an author or just cite the data set?
• Finally, there's a surprising Science Careers connection to one of this week's biggest science stories: The malaria vaccine paper in Science. Careful readers will note that the 16th author on that paper is our very own humor columnist, Adam Ruben. There's also a news story on the new vaccine in this week's Science, by Jocelyn Kaiser.