Does Peer Review Identify the Best Papers? A Simulation Study of Editors, Reviewers, and the Scientific Publication Process

Author : Justin Esarey

How does the structure of the peer review process, which can vary among journals, influence the quality of papers published in a journal? This article studies multiple systems of peer review using computational simulation. I find that, under any of the systems I study, a majority of accepted papers are evaluated by an average reader as not meeting the standards of the journal.

Moreover, all systems allow random chance to play a strong role in the acceptance decision. Heterogeneous reviewer and reader standards for scientific quality drive both results. A peer review system with an active editor—that is, one who uses desk rejection before review and does not rely strictly on reviewer votes to make decisions—can mitigate some of these effects.


L’open innovation et les grandes entreprises françaises : de l’urgence de l’appropriation à l’opportunité de transformation : le cas d’EDF comme prisme d’étude

Auteur/Author : Céline Repoux

L’accélération imprègne tous les aspects du champ social : la consommation, les transports, les loisirs, les discours… Tout est prétexte à aller plus vite pour optimiser les effets attendus. Avec la crise économique, les grandes entreprises sont aussi concernées : pour rester compétitives dans un univers de plus en plus concurrentiel, celles-ci sont enjointes en permanence à « innover ».

Cependant, le temps long de la Recherche & Développement, entité qui gère traditionnellement l’innovation de ces grandes entreprises, n’est pas celui du nouveau marché très rapide qui se dessine et qui profite aux start-ups, leurs nouveaux concurrents directs. Comment appréhender ce bouleversement ?

Ce travail tente de montrer comment les Nouvelles Technologies de l’Information Communication (NTIC) ont transformé le rapport au temps de la société et comment cette transformation trouve ses effets dans le mode de gestion de l’innovation des grandes entreprises, au profit d’une pratique dénommée « Open innovation ».

Une étude plus particulière du cas d’EDF, étayée par l’analyse d’éléments issus de plusieurs autres grandes entreprises françaises et de start-ups, nous permet d’analyser ce phénomène. En rappelant les définitions couramment attribuées à « l’innovation », nous voyons dans un premier temps en quoi les NTIC sont étroitement liées à cette notion et comment leur association crée « l’urgence d’innover » parmi les grandes entreprises.

Nous voyons ensuite comment les imaginaires liés à ces NTIC, intégrés par les individus, transforment la gestion effective de l’innovation des grandes entreprises, mettant en tension les enjeux d’« ouverture » et de « gestion » de l’Open innovation.

Un dernier temps de l’analyse nous permet de montrer comment ce changement de paradigme affecte jusqu’à l’organisation de l’entreprise, au point de conduire à sa propre mutation.


Make researchers revisit past publications to improve reproducibility

Authors : Clare Fiala, Eleftherios P. Diamandis

Scientific irreproducibility is a major issue that has recently increased attention from publishers, authors, funders and other players in the scientific arena. Published literature suggests that 50-80% of all science performed is irreproducible. While various solutions to this problem have been proposed, none of them are quick and/or cheap.

Here, we propose one way of reducing scientific irreproducibility by asking authors to revisit their previous publications and provide a commentary after five years. We believe that this measure will alert authors not to over sell their results and will help with better planning and execution of their experiments.

We invite scientific journals to adapt this proposal immediately as a prerequisite for publishing.

URL : Make researchers revisit past publications to improve reproducibility



Incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature

Authors : Simona Ibba, Filippo Eros Pani, John Gregory Stockton, Giulio Barabino, Michele Marchesi, Danilo Tigano


One of the main tasks of a researcher is to properly communicate the results he obtained. The choice of the journal in which to publish the work is therefore very important. However, not all journals have suitable characteristics for a correct dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Some publishers turn out to be unreliable and, against a payment, they publish whatever researchers propose. The authors call “predatory journals” these untrustworthy journals.

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature and present a tool that was developed for this purpose.


The authors focused their attention on editors, universities and publishers that are involved in this kind of publishing process. The starting point of their research is the list of scholarly open-access publishers and open-access stand-alone journals created by Jeffrey Beall.

Specifically, they analysed the presence of predatory journals in the search results obtained from Google Scholar in the engineering and computer science fields. They also studied the change over time of such incidence in the articles published between 2011 and 2015.


The analysis shows that the phenomenon of predatory journals somehow decreased in 2015, probably due to a greater awareness of the risks related to the reputation of the authors.


We focused on computer science field, using a specific sample of queries. We developed a software to automatically make queries to the search engine, and to detect predatory journals, using Beall’s list.

URL : Incidence of predatory journals in computer science literature


Building a Disciplinary, World‐Wide Data Infrastructure

Authors: Françoise Genova, Christophe Arviset, Bridget M. Almas, Laura Bartolo, Daan Broeder, Emily Law, Brian McMahon

Sharing scientific data with the objective of making it discoverable, accessible, reusable, and interoperable requires work and presents challenges being faced at the disciplinary level to define in particular how the data should be formatted and described.

This paper represents the Proceedings of a session held at SciDataCon 2016 (Denver, 12–13 September 2016). It explores the way a range of disciplines, namely materials science, crystallography, astronomy, earth sciences, humanities and linguistics, get organized at the international level to address those challenges. T

he disciplinary culture with respect to data sharing, science drivers, organization, lessons learnt and the elements of the data infrastructure which are or could be shared with others are briefly described. Commonalities and differences are assessed.

Common key elements for success are identified: data sharing should be science driven; defining the disciplinary part of the interdisciplinary standards is mandatory but challenging; sharing of applications should accompany data sharing. Incentives such as journal and funding agency requirements are also similar.

For all, social aspects are more challenging than technological ones. Governance is more diverse, often specific to the discipline organization. Being problem‐driven is also a key factor of success for building bridges to enable interdisciplinary research.

Several international data organizations such as CODATA, RDA and WDS can facilitate the establishment of disciplinary interoperability frameworks. As a spin‐off of the session, a RDA Disciplinary Interoperability Interest Group is proposed to bring together representatives across disciplines to better organize and drive the discussion for prioritizing, harmonizing and efficiently articulating disciplinary needs.

URL : Building a Disciplinary, World‐Wide Data Infrastructure



Betweenness and diversity in journal citation networks as measures of interdisciplinarity—A tribute to Eugene Garfield

Authors : Loet Leydesdorff, Caroline S. Wagner, Lutz Bornmann

Journals were central to Eugene Garfield’s research interests. Among other things, journals are considered as units of analysis for bibliographic databases such as the Web of Science and Scopus. In addition to providing a basis for disciplinary classifications of journals, journal citation patterns span networks across boundaries to variable extents.

Using betweenness centrality (BC) and diversity, we elaborate on the question of how to distinguish and rank journals in terms of interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinarity, however, is difficult to operationalize in the absence of an operational definition of disciplines; the diversity of a unit of analysis is sample-dependent. BC can be considered as a measure of multi-disciplinarity.

Diversity of co-citation in a citing document has been considered as an indicator of knowledge integration, but an author can also generate trans-disciplinary—that is, non-disciplined—variation by citing sources from other disciplines.

Diversity in the bibliographic coupling among citing documents can analogously be considered as diffusion  or differentiation of knowledge across disciplines. Because the citation networks in the cited direction reflect both structure and variation, diversity in this direction is perhaps the best available measure of interdisciplinarity at the journal level.

Furthermore, diversity is based on a summation and can therefore be decomposed; differences among (sub)sets can be tested for statistical significance. In the appendix, a general-purpose routine for measuring diversity in networks is provided.

URL : Betweenness and diversity in journal citation networks as measures of interdisciplinarity—A tribute to Eugene Garfield