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About the Board of Governors

Peerage of Science
01 Dec 2011

Great to see PoS growing steadily. The service should be aware there is an obvious discrepancy between the aim of PoS to engage with the scientific community in its broadest sense, and the recruitment of peers which is rather narrowly concentrated within evolutionary biology and ecology. This 'founder effect' is to be expected in the initial stages of development of an ambitious new venture such as PoS. However, addressing this challenge is key to the credibility of PoS as a genuine alternative to traditional peer-review systems. I was therefore puzzled by the introduction of the Board of Governors. Whilst this is in principle a positive step, and an opportunity to engage with the broader community, the selection of Board members (all individually excellent academics) if anything at all strongly exacerbates this bias. All current members represent slightly different flavours of animal ecology/evolutionary biology. I am concerned that this will send the wrong message to the rest of the scientific community, projecting PoS as an essentially limited to this narrow field.

I would like to propose that the Board is assembled to reflect the original ambitions and goals of PoS, by including for example Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, Chemists, in addition to Biologists. Even if we wanted to restrict the scope of PoS to Biology for the time being, this should be understood in its broadest sense and the board should represent this diversity by including e.g. Developmental Biologists, Biochemists, Geneticists, and Theoreticians.

As a separate note, a more balanced sex ratio would also substantially add to the credibility of PoS.Great to see PoS growing steadily. The service should be aware there is an obvious discrepancy between the aim of PoS to engage with the scientific community in its broadest sense, and the recruitment of peers which is rather narrowly concentrated within evolutionary biology and ecology. This 'founder effect' is to be expected in the initial stages of development of an ambitious new venture such as PoS. However, addressing this challenge is key to the credibility of PoS as a genuine alternative to traditional peer-review systems. I was therefore puzzled by the introduction of the Board of Governors. Whilst this is in principle a positive step, and an opportunity to engage with the broader community, the selection of Board members (all individually excellent academics) if anything at all strongly exacerbates this bias. All current members represent slightly different flavours of animal ecology/evolutionary biology. I am concerned that this will send the wrong message to the rest of the scientific community, projecting PoS as an essentially limited to this narrow field.

I would like to propose that the Board is assembled to reflect the original ambitions and goals of PoS, by including for example Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, Chemists, in addition to Biologists. Even if we wanted to restrict the scope of PoS to Biology for the time being, this should be understood in its broadest sense and the board should represent this diversity by including e.g. Developmental Biologists, Biochemists, Geneticists, and Theoreticians.

As a separate note, a more balanced sex ratio would also substantially add to the credibility of PoS. Great to see PoS growing steadily. The service should be aware there is an obvious discrepancy between the aim of PoS to engage with the scientific community in its broadest sense, and the recruitment of peers which is rather narrowly concentrated within evolutionary biology and ecology. This 'founder effect' is to be expected in the initial stages of development of an ambitious new venture such as PoS. However, addressing this challenge is key to the credibility of PoS as a genuine alternative to traditional peer-review systems. I was therefore puzzled by the introduction of the Board of Governors. Whilst this is in principle a positive step, and an opportunity to engage with the broader community, the selection of Board members (all individually excellent academics) if anything at all strongly exacerbates this bias. All current members represent slightly different flavours of animal ecology/evolutionary biology. I am concerned that this will send the wrong message to the rest of the scientific community, projecting PoS as an essentially limited to this narrow field.

I would like to propose that the Board is assembled to reflect the original ambitions and goals of PoS, by including for example Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, Chemists, in addition to Biologists. Even if we wanted to restrict the scope of PoS to Biology for the time being, this should be understood in its broadest sense and the board should represent this diversity by including e.g. Developmental Biologists, Biochemists, Geneticists, and Theoreticians.

As a separate note, a more balanced sex ratio would also substantially add to the credibility of PoS.

Lecturer in Ornithology at The Edward Grey Institute, University of Oxford.

He studies the evolutionary ecology of sexual behaviour, focusing on resolving different aspects of sexual selection and intersexual coevolution.

Dr. Pizzari serves on the NERC Peer review panel, the ASAB council grant committee, the BOU council, as well as on the editorial boards of several journals including American Naturalist, Animal Behaviour and Proceedings of the Royal Society B. He was awarded the ASAB Outstanding young Investigator Award in 2005, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2008.

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