University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Quantum Matter Seminar > Peer Review and Citation Analysis in Physical Review Letters: An Editor's Perspective

Peer Review and Citation Analysis in Physical Review Letters: An Editor's Perspective

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Note: Non-standard day and place

In 2007, Physical Review Letters received more than 11,000 new submissions. These were handled by 22 editors, who returned 2500 manuscripts to authors without external review, and sent the remaining 8,500 to two or three of the 53,000 APS referees for their critical input. Approximately 3,500 manuscripts will be eventually accepted, and, out of these, 200 will be selected by the PRL editors as “Suggestions”: Letters that are deemed particularly interesting or well written to warrant further attention from the readers.

Peer review, which remains the central decision-making tool for the publication of scientific papers, has evolved into a complex network of “agents” (authors, referees, and editors). And while each manuscript is unique and special in its own right, there are “large-scale” patterns that emerge when one looks at the big picture.

Understanding what these patterns are and how they form is interesting from an academic point of view, but can also practically affect your own manuscript (or your response to an editorial decision!) next time.

Some pertinent questions will be discussed:

- How are referees chosen, and what is expected of them? Referee statistics patterns.

- What are the challenges an editor faces? What are the operating constraints?

- How can authors contribute towards a timely and hopefully) accurate review process of their papers?

- Are there cultural, ethnic, geographical, or other types of bias in the review process? Can we tell?

- What patterns form in the citation profile of PRL ? Are there any universal patterns across all journals?

- Can we measure the full impact of a journal? How? Can we rank journals based on such a metric?

This talk is part of the Quantum Matter Seminar series.

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