Gelman and Robert

Kerrie Mengersen, one of my supervisors, is visiting some colleagues in France at the moment. It appears that one of the outputs of this visit is a discussion paper, “In praise of the referee”, written with Nicolas Chopin, Andrew Gelman and Christian Robert (arXiv). There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the role of journals, publishers and reviewers in academic publishing ranging from defending the status quo to totally overhauling the system by shedding paper journals and moving everything online to a distributed network of institutional ePrints repositories. The paper by Chopin et al. makes two recommendations after a lengthy discussion about where we find ourselves

  1. Post-publication peer review with comment threads on arXiv and/or a filtering service where instead of acting as reviewers, editorial boards pick out worthwhile new research as a list of recommended reading.
  2. A reviewer commons where academics are taught how to review and the reviewer reports (and their names) are published alongside the article.

The article is worth a read.

I figured I’d also share an old Gelman blog post that he’s recently linked to, “Advice on writing research articles“. The seven pieces of general advice are well worth remembering. It’s basically “Start with your conclusions and work backwards towards your methods”.

Christian Robert has published the dates for his Australian tour. I’m not particularly interested in ABC but the talk on Rao-Blackwellisation looks interesting. Anyone who’s interested in learning a bit about what Bayesian simulation is, without necessarily having a statistics background, would do well to attend the public talk entitled “Simulation as a universal tool for statistics”, which you could probably consider as a popular science talk.


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