Supplementary written evidence submitted
by Dr Andrew Sugden, Deputy Editor and International Managing
Editor, Science (PR 91a)|
1. In relation to Q144 and Q145 (see transcript),
could you send further information from your colleagues as referred
The relevant US supreme court case is Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticalssee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daubert_standard
for some general discussion and a link to the full opinion. I'm
told that this has been used pretty heavily since then, including
in the Dover decision on evolution. Essentially, the Daubert standard
sets the scientific standard for evidence given in court by expert
witnesses, such that part of the definition of scientific evidence
is that it is based on publication(s) in the peer-reviewed literature.
On the face of it this seems a sensible direction, though in the
US system it has apparently led in some cases to the exclusion
of some types of legitimate evidence from court proceedings (see
Difficulties could arise from too rigid a definition of peer review
(for instance if scientific evidence in the "grey literature"gov't
reports and so forthwas excluded from the definition).
So while I stated in verbal evidence that the system could be
useful, clearly there are potential pitfalls in its application.
2. What training does Science provide for
its editors and editorial board members and how often is this
Our editors are trained and mentored on the job by
their more senior and established colleagues. They are appointed
largely on the basis of their scientific experience and credentials,
and so their training at Science magazine is focused on the workflow
procedures for manuscript handling and peer review, and on Science's
criteria for selection (see my written evidence). Because all
manuscripts are handled through a common electronic system, the
work and decision-making of each editor is transparent to the
rest of the group, which reinforces common standards of practice
and uniformity in scientific standards. New editors are also sometimes
encouraged to attend relevant short courses run by bodies such
as the Association of Learned & Professional Society publishers.
Training is not formally refreshed, because all our editors are
in regular communication with each other, and also meet every
week as a group. All editors undergo an annual performance appraisal.
Members of our Board of Reviewing Editors, who are professional
scientists, do not receive any training from us, beyond instruction
on the level and method of input we ask of them. They are appointed
on the basis of their established scientific credentials, and
in most cases are rotated from their service on the Board after
three to five years (ie the Board itself is refreshed).
26 May 2011