Blogs selected for Week April 27 to May 3, 2020 -

1. Scientific and Scholarly meetings in the time of pandemic

A question on the minds of many executives at scientific and scholarly societies is whether it will be possible to hold a large in-person meeting (or any gathering over a hundred people) before a vaccine or drug is widely available or the pandemic otherwise subsides. Conference organisers with meetings in the spring of 2020 (including the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the publisher of The Scholarly Kitchen) have been forced to either cancel events or scramble to move meetings to an online format in the wake of the rapidly moving public health situation. As professional and academic societies scramble to cancel meetings or move them to online formats in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Clarke discusses considerations for both maintaining revenues and engagement.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Open peer-review: time for a closer look

Peer review is for many scientists like a corvée or an obligation which serves their cv. There are excellent reviewers, but there are also those that write a few lines or simply the word “reject”, which makes it very difficult for the editor to make a decision. It is also rare that reviewers decline to review based on their lack of experience with a topic. As author, you can immediately see from the reviewer’s comments if they have no clue what the paper is all about. Poor reviews introduce editorial decision bias, which is bad for scientific publishing, notes Prof. Jim A. Reekers.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. What will we learn about Scholarly Publishing as a result of COVID-19?

We are several months into the global COVID-19 pandemic with no sense for how much longer closures and stay-at-home orders will be in place. Social distancing in an office setting and especially a lab setting will likely mean that not everyone will be at work at the same time, on the same days. In the coming months and years, we will have an opportunity to study the affects of the COVID pandemic on scholarly publishing. Angela Cochran, in this post, explores questions related to the participation of women in scholarship, funding changes, resource issues, and the future of research enterprises.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Science in inaction – The shifting priorities of the UK government’s response to COVID-19 highlights the need for publicly accountable expert advice.

The phrase following the science is repeated frequently in relation to government policies to address COVID-19. However, what this science might be and how it is better than other ‘sciences’ is less frequently explained. In this post, Jana Bacevic reviews the UK government’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak and argues that a key factor determining the UK government’s approach was a closed advisory system that enabled particular scientific or epistemic communities to have disproportionate influence on policymaking. To address this deficiency, scientific advisory systems need both a greater variety of experts and greater transparency.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. Barriers to online learning must be removed to tackle COVID-19 crisis

Whatever happened to the carefree hedonism of youth? That stereotype feels quite hollow at the moment. Under lockdown and unsure what the future will bring, today’s students are burdened by worries, and the rapid move to online and remote learning prompted by COVID-19 is highlighting the divide between the haves and the have-nots, notes Paul Feldman.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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