Paper Review Ponder

Dec 31 2009 Published by under Conduct of Science, Peer Review

What's up with these journal editing/reviewing systems that email the reviewers when the decision has been made but don't append the reviews. Requiring the reviewer to go back and log into the reviewer site and make a few clicks decreases the numbers who are going to read over the other reviewer comments.
That's bad. You should always read over the comments of the other reviewers as a continuing education / calibration of your own reviewing behavior. Plenty of journals just send you the Editor Decision and reviews as the notification. Easy. Peasy.

59 responses so far

  • Lab Lemming says:

    The last journal I reviewed for gave me no notification at all, much less insight into other reviews.
    Wham bam, thank you m'am.

  • whimple says:

    Did you make this suggestion to the journal? What did they say?

  • The Cell Press journals' manuscript management system doesn't even send out an e-mail when a decision has been rendered. Whenever I review for them, I always go and check in every so often to see the other reviews and the final disposition.
    Any reviewer who doesn't get as much information about the other reviews and final disposition is doing themselves a severe disservice. This is not only in terms of "fine tuning" her reviewing chops, but also--and more importantly--as a means of gaining as much information as possible about substantive peer review and editorial standards in her field.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    While I agree with DM's decrying some journals' lack of communication and openess, I think that there is another side to the issue; many reviewers do not give a damn about other reviewers' reviews. In the spirit of "look at me, I'm a reviewer for SNC journals," many reviewers are more than satisfied with inclusion of their reviewing duties in their CVs. Anything to promote their own pompous person. If all reviewers would demand to be privy to other reviewers' reviews, the problem would disappeared.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Sol, this is why we should emphasize and encourage this aspect of reviewing whenever we can.
    Whimple- good idea

  • S. Rivlin says:

    DM, There is another aspect to the ability of each reviewer to read the other reviewrs' reviews i.e., one can find out the type of BS some reviewers use to either reject a paper, request additional experimentation or, at times, accepting the manuscript with flying colors when it actually deserves rejection. That is when reviewers should not be shy about contacting the editor with their take on other reviewers' BS. When a reviewer knows that his/her review is also being reviewed by his/her peers, I believe the better the review process will be.

  • msphd says:

    The last few times I have reviewed articles, there was no way to access the other reviewers' comments.
    I think it's kind of ridiculous for you to imply that this should be a top priority. If I'm prompt with my reviews, and the others aren't there yet? I'm NOT going to make a point to log back in just to see what everybody else said, unless I'm particularly concerned that this paper got in/didn't get in. That's never the case. All I can do is give my 'expert' opinion. However strongly, depending on how strongly I feel about it. But I do NOT have time, nor is it a top priority (nor SHOULD it be) for me to log back in just to see whether Dr. Joe Schmoe agreed or disagreed. And frankly I don't care. Not because I think Dr. Joe Schmoe's opinion means less than mine. Because i think it should mean exactly as much as mine. In which case, we may agree, or we may cancel each other out. Either way is, at least in my understanding, the point of getting multiple reviews. I can't imagine a scenario where I would "calibrate" my review after reading someone else's where that wouldn't be unethical and fucked up.
    I've written before about how I think sharing reviews amongst reviewers is bad practice because it (further) biases the outcome. The idea of three (or more) "independent" reviews is that they should be INDEPENDENT.
    I realize that reviews rarely are kept independent of each other, in practice, especially upon revision & resubmission.
    This is just one of the many reasons I still think peer review is biased bullshit beyond repair.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    msphd,
    As long as the review process is anonymous, both to the submitting authors and to the other reviewers, I do not see how one reviewer should be affected by the "opinion" of another. Most of the journals I review papers for, do send out to all reviewers of a given paper copies of the editor's decision letter and the reviews of the other reviewers. The editor's decision is usually made after all the reviews are in such that even if you are prompt in your review, you do not have to log in until you receive an e-mail from the editor telling you that the process in over. Too many reviewers have pesonal agendas that are not in line with an unbiased review of a paper by a given author(s)and the only way to stop it from occuring regularly is to encourage reviewers to comment on other reviewers' reviews, anonymously.

  • But I do NOT have time, nor is it a top priority (nor SHOULD it be) for me to log back in just to see whether Dr. Joe Schmoe agreed or disagreed. And frankly I don't care.

    This is a woefully ignorant and shortsighted perspective. Regardless of whether you give a shit whether reviewers #2 and #3 agree with you per se, you should care very deeply about the scientific substance of the other reviews of a paper in your field.
    These other reviewers are likely to be reviewing *your* papers at some point. As such, you should be very interested in the standards to which they are holding papers in your field.
    And even if they aren't, they are members of your scientific community, and their scientific opinions--as expressed in this particular instance of peer review--should be of great interest to you as someone who seeks to make scientific contributions to that community.
    Ignoring this kind of thing puts you at a competitive disadvantage compared to those scientists who do pay attention.

  • Regardless of whether you give a shit whether reviewers #2 and #3 agree with you per se, you should care very deeply about the scientific substance of the other reviews of a paper in your field.

    This is the point that I was going to make. We review manuscripts objectively (or at least, that's the goal) but we each have our own perspective on the science. I might find particular aspects of the study to have been very poorly done based on my own experience in the area but not be as knowledgeable about another aspect that another reviewer found to be superb or may have had issues with. Reading through other reviewers' comments gives you more ways of critically analysing science and this can only be a valuable thing for your own development as a scientist.

  • Anonymous says:

    CPP,
    "you should be very interested in the standards to which they are holding papers in your field".
    Yes, you're right. I am afraid that self-serving "disinterest" is serving certain fields extremely well.
    I am extremely disappointed at the sweeping statement in Cell 139:1212-1215, 2009 on Madness Molecules by Salomon Snyder:
    “Finally, don’t plan your research to fit the supposed dictates of funding agencies—I’ve never done the experiments proposed in any of my grant applications. Good luck! “.
    I don't understand what Dr Snyder thinks funding agencies are for. Are they there to fool the scientific community and the public?. I assume that he believes in good faith in people and organizations. So, if there are errors (unintentional or intentional) what is one supposed to do ?. Ignore them and just follow his personal "brilliant" lead?. Is that the way science is supposed to be done and taught ?.
    I am afraid that after almost 45 years of heavy funding, Dr Snyder is showing little judgment to erect himself as a science advisor.

  • So, if there are errors (unintentional or intentional) what is one supposed to do ?. Ignore them and just follow his personal "brilliant" lead?. Is that the way science is supposed to be done and taught ?.

    Yes, that is exactly what one is supposed to do, and it is what effective mentors teach their students. Scientific progress is way too unpredictable to confine to four- or five-year plans like the typical funded R01. These are grants, not contracts.
    So long as you produce important and interesting science using the resources of your grants--regardless of how closely you hew to the Specific Aims--you will be rewarded by your peers in a continued funding stream. If you are unproductive, your ability to secure funding will dry up.
    The fact that Snyder has continued to be funded for 45 years is a direct consequence of the fact that he has been an exceedingly productive and creative scientist over those years. Whether he has or hasn't stuck closely to his grants' Specific Aims has fuck all to do with it.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    As srtange as it may sound, I find myself agreeing with CPP's last two comments almost entirely. But, Solomon Snyder is a unique and an outlier NIH-funded investigator. I first met him in 1976 and already then it was clear that he's different. The majority of the NIH-funded investigators believe that unless they can fulfill the specific aims within the allotted time frame of their grants, a renewal is impossible, and thus, they never dare not following the exact written scenario of their proposals.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry CPP. Either I have not explained myself clearly or You have decided to reinterpret my post in your own way. Scientific progress is unpredictable indeed. I did not question that. I did not question Dr Snyder productivity either.
    I find Dr Snyder's statement very unfortunate.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rivlin,
    Science is made by geniuses and also by smart and hard working people. Dr Snyder's geniality cannot be expected from everybody. There is only one Nobel Prize per year and yet there have been extremely good contributions in science and medicine by scientists who never won a Nobel Prize.
    Funding agencies are established to promote science that serves the development of our society. If they fail to do so, they need to be alerted so that proper mechanisms are put in place to correct, as much as possible, the errors and inefficiencies. I tend to believe that, in doing so, geniuses and non-geniuses might have a better opportunity for doing the best science possible to the benefit of all.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Anon,
    Just because I agree with CPP's opinion about Snyder, does not mean that I in any way believe that science is for geniuses only. Actually, geniuses should have a completely different and separate system to fund their science such that their potential could be fully realized. Absolutely, hard work in science is an attribute that should pay off and, in the majority of the cases, it does. Nevertheless, hard work alone is usually not enough, just as genius does not guarantees success in science. Whether we like to admit it or not, sometime luck also plays a role.

  • Scientific progress has little or nothing to do with "genius", even assuming for the sake of argument that something called "genius" even exists. We elevate ambitious, hard-working, and persistent people who are in the right place at the right time to "genius" stature, because it makes us feel less bad about the fact that we weren't.

  • anne says:

    @Rivlin #16
    Listen, holidays are almost over. Go back to work on your competitive renewal. You're wasting time fighting with CPP or making people work too hard.
    Come on Rivlin we need you to get your grant renew......Lazy buddy
    Come on (sing with us)
    Hello Rivlin, welcome back, Rivlin
    It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
    You’re looking swell, Rivlin, I can tell Rivlin
    You’re still glowin’, you’re still crowin’, you’re still going strong
    I feel the lab swayin’ while postdocs’re playin’
    One of your favourite luck games from way back then
    So take his PC fellas, place him on his chair fellas,
    Let him write the most innovative grant !!!!!
    Happy New Year !!!

  • Dr. Zeek says:

    And here I thought I was the only one who wanted to see the other reviewer comments as a way to learn/gauge/expand knowledge and self-education. I learned to write manuscripts by reading and reading and reading and I learned to write grants/fellowship applications by reading reading and more reading of those that were successful and those that weren't successful. Reviewing a paper, in my mind, is also a learned skill. How do you learn? Reading, writing and practicing. Not that I would want to read other reviewers comments BEFORE I submit mine. That to me removes the independence that MsPhD mentioned, but afterwards I would love to know what others thought, if I was on the right track, and like PiT suggested, hearing people’s thoughts on experiments and data I am less familiar with. But that is just my two cents.

  • There are journals that don't send the reviews and decisions to everyone? Wow.
    I've learned an incredible amount about my field in reading what other reviewers have to say about things, including about some research I wasn't aware of. I've also learned a lot about the style of review and that has been incredibly valuable.
    And now, to go do the review that is sitting on my desk.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    anne,
    If I didn't know better I would mistaken you for CPP's sister. 😉 Anyhow, no one ever wrote a "poem" to honor me. This is really touching. Would you kindly share with us your opinion about reading other reviewers' reviews?
    Happy New Year to you, too.

  • Not that I would want to read other reviewers comments BEFORE I submit mine.

    All journal manuscript management systems forbid access to the other reviews until you submit your own final version, which cannot be changed (except, I suppose, by going directly to the editor and claiming that you need to revise your review). This is one of the several reasons why MsPhD's paranoid ravings about colluding reviewers are unfounded.

  • namnezia says:

    Two points: I agree that it is important to view the other reviewer's comments. I remember once I was reviewing a quite decent paper for a high-profile journal and one of the other reviewers clearly had something against the authors. She/he wrote a horrible scathing review which made NO sense, and even went as far as incorrectly citing one of my own papers as evidence against the paper being reviewed. Based on this review the editor rejected the paper. After reading the reviews I went as far as calling the editor and telling her that this other review was clearly out of line and that the reviewer was not only not making sense but had clearly not read the manuscript thoroughly. The editor then allowed the authors to resubmit and eventually the paper got in.
    My second point is regarding sticking to the aims of the grant. Recently my university has been in paranoia mode after Yale got audited and fined heavily for PI's using funds from one grant to conduct unrelated experiments not in the aims. The grants office at my university held meetings with all departments warning us not to do this and specifically warning us that if we put our summer salaries on a given grant we are ONLY allowed to work on that grant. Likewise, we must specify which of our lab equipment is being used for which specific grant (including computers) and which postdocs and students are working on which projects. They told us that if we deviate from the aims we must file some sort of change in scope forms with the NIH. Of course, anyone who runs a lab knows that what they ask is basically impossible. In my lab all projects blur together and it is impossible to say specifically what is being funded by what. Likewise, it is impossible to account for what part of my time is spent on which project. So the type of accounting they are asking for is not possible in any real sense of the word. This puts PIs in the awkward situation of having to misrepresent what they are doing, just so the university can have their asses covered. Has anybody had a similar experience with this?

  • Dr. Zeek says:

    Thanks, CPP. I *thought* that was how it was done but never having submitted a "formal" manuscript review before, I was a tad unsure.
    As for the aims question, you mean I don't have to kill myself trying to finish every nit-picky aim "we" (my PI and I) proposed in our last grant? Damn, now I can actually sleep at some point.

  • Recently my university has been in paranoia mode after Yale got audited and fined heavily for PI's using funds from one grant to conduct unrelated experiments not in the aims.

    There have been no audits of NIH grants ever conducted that have involved scientific judgments of whether research expenses charged to a grant have been within the scope of the aims of the grant. If this is how you and/or your university have interpreted the outcome of any particular audit, you are mistaken.
    Auditors don't bother looking for complicated and impossible to prove shit like this, because it is trivially easy to look for obvious shit like the following:
    (1) PIs charging greater than 100% effort to federal grant awards.
    (2) PIs with obviously large administrative duties--like department chairs, deans, and provosts--charging absurd efforts like 80% or 90% to federal grant awards.
    (3) Soft-money "faculty" charging 100% effort to NIH awards, but submitting competing NIH grant applications.
    Financial auditors of federal grant awards are looking for shit that is patently and grossly disallowed based solely on looking at the financial paper trail. They are not in a million years gonna start looking at grant aims and the expenses charged to that grant and make the scientific judgment whether some of those expenses were supporting experiments that were not within the scientific scope of the aims of the grant.
    Yeah, if you buy a fucking yacht on your R01 and say you needed it to collect anthrax-containing soil samples in Iowa, you might have a problem. But financial auditors are not going to be comparing your grant aims to your financial paper trail.

  • anne says:

    Rivlin,
    “Reading other reviewers' reviews?”.
    1. Do you mean Reviewing?
    2. Do you mean Reviewing Reviews?
    IMHO, Reviewing and Reviewing Reviews is the HDR Act.
    H, is the fact of being Honored since you’re recognized as a relevant contributor in the area and your judgment, in recognizing somebody else’s contribution, is sought and held in high regard.
    D, is the fact of Deference towards the Reviewer (s) in that he/she is awarded with privileged information that will allow expanding views in a specific and/or closely related area of knowledge or practice. The fact of Deference, with time and experience, gives Reviewers unique platforms for scientific discernment on how traditional and emerging fields of knowledge are or could be heading. Scientific discernment playing “solitaire” is necessary but not sufficient for an objective launching of new ideas and fields. The fact of Deference positions Reviewer (s) best for scientific integration and leadership.
    R, is the fact of Responsibility for Building. Reviewers are both builders and building blocks. Great builders pay very close attention to the foundations and the process of building. Functionality and permanence, in the face of unanticipated events, are viewed as directly correlated with foundations solidness and process quality. Unintended errors and/or uncovered deficiencies can be strategically used to redirect design that emphasizes novel expressions and/or needs.
    Yes, Reading other reviewers’s reviews reflects on the view that Reviewers are not blocks (lifeless entities) but Building Blocks, whose individual singularities interconnect in a search for diverse, continuous self-improved stability.
    Sorry Rivlin for the random thoughts.
    Anne

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Anne,
    For a moment I enjoyed the prose. Then I noticed that you "forgot" to provide a citation from which you extracted it, unless, of course, this HDR act thing is all yours!
    BTW, I did mean exactly what I wrote, "reading the reviewers' reviews," not reviewing their reviews.

  • anne says:

    Rivlin,
    Random thoughts are just random thoughts and, frequently, a consequence of human experience and aspirations.

  • namnezia says:

    CPP - I agree with what you said, I think my university is overinterpreting the rules (going as far as having me write a justification as to how lab notebooks and publishing charges are related to the aims of the grant). They claimed that auditors at Yale went as far as subpoenaing lab notebooks and PI's calendars, but I guess this is for proving %effort. It would, however, be much harder to show that a given experiment fits within a specific aim or not, and basically impossible to prove. One thing they did say is that if you are supported %100 percent on your grant (say during the summer) you cannot write a separate proposal, even at home, at night, because this is considered as part of your "professional activities".
    Here's a link to an article about the Yale case: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/university-news/2008/12/23/yale-to-pay-76-million-to-settle-grant-investigati/

  • I think my university is overinterpreting the rules (going as far as having me write a justification as to how lab notebooks and publishing charges are related to the aims of the grant).

    Not only are they misinterpreting the laws and regulations--in particular, as explained in OMB Circular A-21--but they are creating a more risky situation for themselves.
    The laws and regulation do not require such written justifications, and in their absence, the burden would be on the federal government to prove that costs were misallocated. However, once such written justifications have been produced, then auditors can attempt to scrutinize them and look for inconsistencies. Also, if your university establishes an internal business practice of requiring such written justifications, then situations in which they are not produced or cannot be found could be argued by auditors to be prima facie evidence of misallocations.
    The less written documentation you produce, the fewer opportunities there are for auditors to find shit to fuck you with. On the few occasions where administrative staff in my university have attempted to get me to produce written justifications for cost allocations other than personnel effort and cost transfers, I have refused to do so in the absence of proof by the administrator of a federal law or regulation, or an official university policy requiring production of the justification.
    I have always responded to their requests for such justifications with an e-mail stating, "Please point me to the federal law or regulation or official university policy requiring this written justification and I will be happy to comply with your request." So far they have been unable to come up with anything, and they always back down.

  • anne says:

    @ Rivlin # 27
    "BTW, I did mean exactly what I wrote, "reading the reviewers' reviews," not reviewing their reviews.".
    Yes Rivlin, I understood it as you intended it. And I agree. I used the word "reviewing reviews" in that sense also, that is getting acquainted with the other reviewer's opinions. I apologize if my used of "reviewing" ( going through something by reading it) created some confusion.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Dear Anne,
    Let's resolve to be nice to each other and exchange opinions and experiences in a civil, non-confronting way, since we all have much to learn from each other. No need to apologize and, yes, I did enjoy reading your HDR act.

  • whimple says:

    One thing they did say is that if you are supported %100 percent on your grant (say during the summer) you cannot write a separate proposal, even at home, at night, because this is considered as part of your "professional activities".
    This is also the interpretation of this policy where I am.

  • One thing they did say is that if you are supported %100 percent on your grant (say during the summer) you cannot write a separate proposal, even at home, at night, because this is considered as part of your "professional activities".

    This is unambiguously a correct interpretation of the laws and regulations.

  • neurolover says:

    CPP -- has your university been audited? My perception is that a university's attitude on these questions can change substantially after an audit. The policies can differ based on the university's attitude towards this kind of thing (and is often worse in state universities).
    As you state, policies requiring written justifications can indeed create compliance issues. However, the policies can help shift responsibilities from the university to the PI/individual. Therefore, universities that have been audited (a few that I'm familiar with) develop policies specifically for this purpose -- to shift the compliance responsibility to the individual. So, in the interchange you describe -- they develop a university policy that requires you to write a justification, and then, if they are audited again, and the justification is insufficient, they attribute the responsibility to the PI (not the University) and argue that the behavior was clearly against their policy.
    In these audits, the university has often had to ante up because the NIH/auditors/whoever found that the university had something of a "policy and practice" of violating the intent of the federal regulation. By developing their own internal compliance requirements, they are then able to argue that they are in compliance, and blame the PI in cases where problems are found.
    This can be an effective strategy (even absent the CYA aspect of it), because the PI probably doesn't have much money to offer, and at the most, all that can be done is specific costs on specific grants will be disallowed, rather than university wide damage awards.
    In addition, many of these suits start as qui tam suits, in which the "whistleblower" gets a percent of the proceeds. By shifting compliance requirements to indidual PIs, they also decrease the value of these suits to the whistleblower and the likelihood that there will be a whistleblower report.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    neurolover,
    Rarely a whistleblower's incentive is the monetary reward. In most cases of whistleblowing, the reward never materialized and the negative consequences for the whistlblower are usually much more expansive than any reward.

  • namnezia says:

    "Please point me to the federal law or regulation or official university policy requiring this written justification and I will be happy to comply with your request."
    I'll keep this in mind for next time I'm asked to justify something...

  • namnezia says:

    One thing they did say is that if you are supported %100 percent on your grant (say during the summer) you cannot write a separate proposal, even at home, at night, because this is considered as part of your "professional activities".
    This is unambiguously a correct interpretation of the laws and regulations.

    The thing that doesn't make sense about this is that the university would rather I work 7 hour days during the summer and take all weekends off, than have me submit more proposals which would benefit them too in the long run. One proposed solution was to spread out our salary over 12 rather than 10 months - which I know has been done elsewhere - but somehow it required too much paperwork for them. It seems to me that in this case, the NIH policy is flawed, and many universities are reluctant to implement rational policies that would make faculty member's lives easier. Anyway, enough bitchin' about this... I'm happy to spend my summer afternoons at the beach or grilling away.

  • Anonymous says:

    CPP @30 'I have always responded to their requests for such justifications with an e-mail stating, "Please point me to the federal law or regulation or official university policy requiring this written justification and I will be happy to comply with your request." So far they have been unable to come up with anything, and they always back down.'
    I am going to use this line every single time they ask me for a written justification for sharpies and crap like that. Which practically happens weekly around here.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I would love to have a separate discussion of what is and is not permitted/required/prohibited under Circular A-21. There has been considerable confusion and bureaucratic tail-chasing at my institution ever since the Yale audit that was mentioned above. It is clear from the brief discussion above that different institutions have come away with different interpretations, which is disquieting.

  • Anonymous says:

    Neuroconservative,
    Sorry for the silly question. I am a little bit out of sight. Is the Circular A21 the one from 1997 ?. Has it been updated ?. In any event, does the "content" and/or the "spirit" of Circular-A21 allow for different interpretations ?. And if so, are there any criteria to discern and/or justify wether a possible interpretation (s) is correct or incorrect?.

  • Circular A-21 explicitly recognizes that within academic institutions research, administration, and teaching duties are frequently inextricably intertwined and intentionally uses vague language like "reasonable" in terms of allocability of costs to a particular sponsored award. This is why auditors don't bother dicking around with judgment calls that require scientific judgment--such as the scope of specific aims and their relationship to actual research performed--and rather just look for inconsistencies and impossibilities in the paper trail.
    The bottom line for criteria to interpret Circular A-21 is the past history of what Department of Health & Human Services auditors have done. Note that this is different, for example, from the Securities & Exchange Commission, which issues pre-judgments of proposed actions by regulated entities called "no action letters". A financial firm sends a request to the SEC seeking a no action letter to cover a conduct proposed in the request. If the SEC issues the no action letter, then the firm knows that it will not be deemed out of compliance for engaging in that conduct. If the SEC declines to issue a no action letter, then the firm knows that it is at risk of falling afoul of the SEC if it engages in the proposed conduct.

  • AcademicLurker says:

    "One thing they did say is that if you are supported %100 percent on your grant (say during the summer) you cannot write a separate proposal, even at home, at night, because this is considered as part of your "professional activities".
    This is unambiguously a correct interpretation of the laws and regulations."
    So does this mean that everyone on 100% soft money is technically in violation of federal law (since they all write and submit grants)? Is there just some unspoken agreement to ignore it?

  • So does this mean that everyone on 100% soft money is technically in violation of federal law (since they all write and submit grants)?

    Yep. Many institutions have decided to start forcing departments/PIs to pay 5% salary of soft-money peeps out of non-sponsored funds to cover this unallowable effort.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Thanks, CPP, for this insightful analysis. Separate from T&E, I remain somewhat unclear about what is allowed in terms of rebudgeting or deviations from the originally submitted budget. My understanding is that there was some liberalization of this area under the 2004 revision to the Circular, but I tend to keep pretty tight out of an abundance of caution. Do you have any guidelines on this?

  • Do you have any guidelines on this?

    Circular A-21 has nothing specific to say about rebudgeting. You need to look at your Notice of Grant Award, but the standard NIH terms and conditions allow for rebudgeting between lines of up to 25% of the annual budget per year without permission from the Institute/Center, and rebudgeting of more than that with permission.

  • namnezia says:

    Yep. Many institutions have decided to start forcing departments/PIs to pay 5% salary of soft-money peeps out of non-sponsored funds to cover this unallowable effort.

    So in my institution, to encourage faculty to contribute to their academic year salary, for every month of academic year salary you contribute you get about half of it back as unrestricted funds. In order to cover the grantwriting issue during the summer, faculty are then encouraged to use these unrestricted funds to cover part of their summer salary. Somehow they claim this is a good deal, but of course it obviously not. Plus wouldn't this be sort of not legal behavior by the part of the university since it is misrepresenting the use of funds?

  • S. Rivlin says:

    namnezia,
    Are you surprised by some of the schemes that universities' administrators and lawers invent where grants are involved? Many of these institutions find all kinds of ways to profit greatly from NIH grants, though the PIs and the CoIs usually are not included in these profits. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some PIs have even tried to embezzle their own grants. A bad idea that usually brings the Feds right into your office.

  • Fucklin, how about you make a comment with some motherfucking content other than "everyone involved in the scientific enterprise other than me, Soldouche Rivshit, is totally corrupt and horrible"? Think you can do it?

  • Funky Fresh says:

    You could always disemvowel him. That works.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    CPProfane,
    Seems to me you don't like the truth.
    Funky Fresh,
    Shutting me up won't change the fact that where there's money, there are crooks. The bigger the money the more daring and crooked are the crooks. Science absolutely does not prevent the crooks from acting crookedly.

  • neurolover says:

    "So in my institution, to encourage faculty to contribute to their academic year salary, for every month of academic year salary you contribute you get about half of it back as unrestricted funds."
    I'm guessing that they word this differently than you write here (though the policy might function as you say). They're not allowed to "give back" money that the federal government gives them to pay for your effort on your grant. But, they are allowed to award you other funds based on how successful you are at obtaining parts of your salary from other sources -- i.e. the funds they normally use to pay your salary). Money is fungible, but how you funge it is carefully worded to stay within the law (most of the time).
    And, yes, most whistleblowers pay a significant cost for their whistle-blowing, even if they are successful in their qui tam action.

  • MonkeyPox says:

    Some people can't figure out what to do with themselves in retirement. Others become cranky, old farts and use the interwebs to declare, "Get offa my lawn!"

  • Putting one's head in the sand does not make the problem disappear.

    Listen, fuckface, the reason for wanting you to shut the fuck up already has nothing to do with "putting one's head in the sand" nor with "mak[ing] the problem disappear". It has to do with wishing that you would stop polluting this blog with your obsessive senile ravings.
    We are all aware that scientific fraud exists and we are all aware that scientists--like all human beings--sometimes behave in unsavory ways. But that is not the raison detre of this fucking blog. If you want to talk incessantly about how horrible all scientists today are and how great scientists used to be back in the motherfucking olden days and about what a great moral paragon of fucking virtue you are, then GET YOUR OWN MOTHERFUCKING BLOG ASSHOLE!
    If it were up to me, your slimy irrelevant off-topic ass would have been banned from this blog a long time ago. The only reason DoucheMonkey lets you shit yourself here is because it entertains him to see me peeved.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    CPProfane, It entertains me, too.

  • namezia says:

    Neurolover: Yes, it isn't quite worded that way, but I still don't understand how they are allowed to do this, isn't this misrepresentation?

  • I recently reviewed a paper for an Elsevier journal and the second I submitted my own review, a link to the other reviewer's comments appeared. I was rather relieved to find that about 90% of my concerns were also raised by the other reviewer.

  • NeuronNumber76 says:

    a while ago a journal I reviewed a manuscript for had myself and one other reviewer. The paper was well suited for the journal but there were some major issues with the quality of the experiments that needed to be addressed. I pointed these out as I am a "expert" in this area and said "accept with major revisions". I had about 7 major points and a handful of minor ones. I didn't expect all to be addressed. The other reviewer was obviously not an expert and most likely a buddy. He/She had one very soft ball question, essentially "how can you do such fantastic science with such a big wang?" I was glad when the editor took my review seriously and allowed them to resubmit with major revisions. I was not happy 3 months later when the editor accepted the revised manuscript without sending it back out for review. The editor was not an expert in the field. When the paper came out only one of my major points was addressed (and of course it wasn't the most major).....what this says to me is that no matter what politics trumps the review process. Until there is a double blind situation there will be no accountability.

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