Publishing in Nature Communications presented by Dr. Fiona Carr, PhD by Emma Stacey

On July 22nd, Dr. Fiona Carr from Nature Communications spoke to us about her role in the research industry. I found her presentation extremely interesting for two reasons. Firstly, publishing and editing is an area of research I had never considered before as a career and secondly, because it was an enlightening talk on the publishing process at Nature.

Dr. Carr had worked in labs previously doing both a PhD and post-doc research but ultimately pursued a career in publishing and editing. To me, a career in research was limited to bench work and/or field work, so it was eye-opening to hear from her learn about an alternative career path. Additionally, her talk gave us an inside look into the publishing process at her journal.

An interesting aspect of Nature Communications is that it is an open access publication. Dr. Carr described the importance of open access in the field which is something I agree with wholeheartedly. I believe that scientific information should be readily available to anyone in order to foster understanding and collaboration. She also spoke about some of the publication options that Nature Communications offers. These including optional transparent peer review, optional reviewer accreditation, and optional double blind peer review. Optional transparent review and double-blind peer review were both particularly interesting to me because they aim to reduce bias and promote the quality of publication.

Lastly, Dr. Carr talked about Nature Communications and their support of pre-prints, which encompasses published work that has yet to be peer reviewed. I think pre-prints have great importance because they can get information out into the field more rapidly which is especially important during an ongoing pandemic. However, they have to be viewed critically due to the lack of peer review.

Overall, this talk was fascinating and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to gain this new perspective thanks to the OVC Summer CORE program.