What we're reading: The predictive power of NSF grant reviewers, the peer-review sting, and more shutdown science

Reading a Book
In the journals
Goodman BA, L Schwarzkopf, & AK Krockenberger. 2013. Phenotypic integration in response to incubation environment adaptively influences habitat choice in a tropical lizard. The American Naturalist, 182(5): 666-73. doi: 10.1086/673299.

Using a split-clutch design, we incubated eggs at thermal regimes that mimicked the thermal environments of nests from two habitat types (forest = warm; rocky = cool). Hatchlings from cool incubation environments had longer limbs and greater running and climbing speeds, which are likely to be beneficial for rocky habitats.

Scheiner SM & LM Bouchie. 2013. The predictive power of NSF reviewers and panels. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 406–407. 10.1890/13.WB.017.

Reviewer scores and panel rankings were moderately, but non-significantly, correlated with project outcomes (r = 0.12–0.29), but less so when analyzed by multiple regression. The sole predictive factor was award size for the number of publications (Figure 1; standardized coefficient = 0.64), a relationship consistent with other analyses …

In the news
This week in shutdown science: The CDC sits out an outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella, experiments on hold, lab mice euthanized and an entire season of Antarctic research cancelled.
Science commissioned a sting to test the peer review at open-access journals … but didn’t include a control group.
On the infamous two-body problem.
A big new study finds that papers reporting publicly available data get more citations.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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