Category Archives: Opinion

Some thoughts on open and community sourced peer review

We have revised our paper on arXiv detailing some work on colocalisation analysis, a method to determine whether two traits share a common causal variant.

I have been following the debate about open peer review: not just reviewers for traditional journals signing their reviews, but the idea of community-sourced peer review: you publish your paper when you are happy with it, other scientists comment and point out weaknesses, you revise it appropriately and publicly. This all sounds like a great idea, and is part of why this paper was first published on arXiv. I really care about the appropriate use of statistical methods for colocalisation and think the topic of data integration is an important one. Having the paper on arXiv has been useful for sharing my paper with others, and for giving a reference url in talks. But, although some people have told me they read it, and I know some are using the software, no one has given me any criticism of the paper itself.

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Why post on arXiv

I’ve just posted my first paper on arXiv.  Why?  Well, all the cool kids are doing it 🙂  But mainly because I’ve thought quite a lot about its subject, I’ve finished the paper, I’m excited about the results, I want to talk about it NOW, not in 6 months or whenever it gets through reviews and possibly (multiple?) rejections.  It’s also a field I know others are working in, and by posting to arXiv before it gets published I am ensuring I don’t get scooped.  This argument seems odd in the world of biology, where people can hang onto results until papers are accepted for fear someone else is going to copy their experiments, but it’s true. No one can scoop a result published on arXiv, because once the paper is there, the idea is published, albeit in preprint format, with authors and publication date and everything.

There are other arguments for posting on arXiv of course, including making sure work is open access, but as I am submitting to an open access journal, for me it is mainly about immediacy.

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