[Royal] Series B’log

[Thanks to Ingmar for suggesting the additional Royal!]

RSS wineLast week, I got an email from Piotr Fryzlewicz on behalf of the Publication Committee of the Royal Statistical Society enquiring about my interest in becoming a blog associate editor for Series B! Although it does not come exactly as a surprise, as I had previously heard about this interest in creating a dedicated blog, this is great news as I think a lively blog can only enhance the visibility and impact of papers published in Series B and hence increase the influence of Series B. Being quite excited by this on-line and interactive extension to the journal, I have accepted the proposal and we are now working on designing the new blog (Series B’log!) to get it on track as quickly as possible.

Suggestions towards this experiment are most welcome! I am thinking of involving authors to write blog summaries of their paper, AEs and reviewers to voice their expert opinions about the paper, anonymously or not, and of course anyone interested in commenting the paper. The idea is to turn (almost) all papers into on-line Read Papers, with hopefully the backup of authors through their interactions with the commentators. I certainly do not intend to launch discussions on each and every paper, betting on the AEs or referees to share their impressions. And if a paper ends up being un-discussed, this may prove enough of an incentive for some. (Someone asked me if we intended to discuss rejected papers as well. This is an interesting concept, but not to be considered at the moment!)

5 Responses to “[Royal] Series B’log”

  1. In full glory “The royal blog on statistical methodology”.

  2. This is a great initiative, with the plus that it comes from the B-series! If succesfull (and of course it will be successful, paper summaries published as blog posts and open to comments will necessarily be interesting, in my view) and if replicated by other journals, it will push readers to give a look at works they skipped because of “no time” (laziness) or because the abstract was not captivating enough.
    Personally, in the last 3-4 years the best papers I found came out of blog reviews (thanks Xi’an) and peers recommendations (e.g. twitter). My emails folder with journals-table-of-contents alerts is exploding with tons of unread emails…it just doesn’t work for me. But I’d love if more researchers, including myself, could take the habit of blogging about their favourite papers and summarize their own.

  3. Dan Simpson Says:

    I’m not convinced that it’s worth asking the authors to write a summary of their paper – if they didn’t do it well enough the first time etc. But it would be nice to have an “outside eye” summary.

    It would be nice if there was some sort of involvement of younger statisticians or (heaven forfend!) applied statisticians—series B can get a touch dry.

    In an ideal world I think everything should be signed. But when you’ve had a paper you wrote the better part of a decade ago pop up in a catastrophic AE report of a paper your phd student wrote on a mostly different topic*, you become cynical.

    That being said, I’m also curious to see how this actually plays out**. To some extent, a blog where we’re all giving each other gold stars is of no use***, while a blog where papers are explained put into context just demonstrates that the original papers weren’t clear enough. So it’s going to be a hard road, but a very interesting one if it works out!

    *”Play the ball, not the man” isn’t always a leading philosophy for people in our field. I’d be shocked if I was the only one with this experience.

    **I’m technically a millennial (i know. ewww) and I die a little inside every time a news agency mentions twitter. I’m optimistic that this won’t be like that!

    ***Compare read paper comments now to read paper comments in the 80s.

    • Thanks, Dan, for the suggestions. While the blog is expected to work as a blog, ie with people contributing when interested, I am also seeking the young statisticians (as a section of the RSS) to play a role in the blog. As for the notion of authors writing something for the blog, I would rather see that as a teaser, assuming people do not necessarily read all abstracts of the current issue of Series B. (NB: I cleaned up your stars!)

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