Springer Nature editors, what’s your job?

Recently biologist Jerry Coyne noted a paper in Springer Nature which appears not to have been edited, never mind peer reviewed.

Errors that Coyne points out include the claim that humans and neanderthals never interbred (genetic evidence shows that they did), the claim that there are no intermediate species in the fossil record (there are) as well as several mined quotes from famous biologists.

All this and spelling errors too.

I’m not going to go too heavily into the contents of the paper in question, Coyne does that himself, the more troubling thing to me is how Springer Nature responded to his complaint over it.

Okay so what is the editorial process at Springer Nature for then?

If the article is riddled with errors, is downright deceptive and they cannot yank it, then how do they justify their salaries? The peer reviewers generally don’t charge anything and the people submitting articles are paid by their universities.

So how do they justify getting paid anything if their response to complaints about factual inaccuracies, as well as spelling and grammatical errors in a paper that they have published is to refer back to the author?

It would be one thing if they disagreed with Coyne, but this response is a scandal in and of itself, as it tells us that they don’t actually practice any greater oversight than the Huffington Post, and in fact less oversight than them.

I worked on an online news website putting articles up. If there was an error I never got to say “Well, the journalist”, or even the sub-editor, and getting your stuff published in a science journal should be a lot harder than in a newspaper.

The standards for the person actually putting it on the site should be a lot more stringent.

Even if it is open source – the editors are supposed to do something.

This is genuinely shocking to me.


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