Supplementary written evidence submitted
by Philip Campbell (PR 60a)|
1. Nature editors are selected from the ranks
of post-doctoral researchers for their unusually broad interests
in science and for their abilities, in particular, to take any
scientific paper, assimilate its key ingredients and messages
reliably and promptly, and apply critical thinking even if the
paper is not in their own expert area.
2. Such people will have already experienced
the process of peer review as authors and in some cases as peer
reviewers. They will also already have a strong sense of how one
piece of research might be more significant than another and,
within their own disciplines, what would represent an outstanding
3. The training that takes place, therefore,
can only happen by participating fully in the process of selecting
papers. Every new editor sits within a small team with a team
leader who will initially track their every thought and action
in respect of every paper they handle.
4. As months go by, this scrutiny gradually relaxes.
We reckon that it takes about two years of handling papers and
visiting many labs and conferences for our editors to gain the
full experience of the various ways in which authors, editors
and referees can interact and hence optimize the process. Also,
over that time, an editor builds up extensive scientific and research-community
knowledge and contacts.
5. After two years, typically, they will be fully
autonomous. However, they still act as part of the team, so that
decisions are routinely discussed with colleagues, and the team
leader ensures that Nature's standards within the team's disciplines
have an appropriate degree of consistency.
6. All editors will be given occasional training
by the company in relation to ethical and legal issues. Moreover,
we set up occasional meetings with external experts to discuss
possible changes in standards and criteria, as new research technologies
and practices emerge.
Philip Campbell PhD
20 May 2011