Recently, an article appeared in Naturwissenschaften, with the title ‘Deep Diving Dinosaurs’, with zero content about dinosaurs and being instead about their distant relatives, the ichthyosaurs. Naturally, being a miffed Brit, I decided to write a letter to the journal’s publisher, Springer.
Here’s the mighty response from one of their Editorial Directors:
Thank you Dr. Tennant,
much appreciated. We are looking into it.
What did you expect? A speech about how they’re going to reform and streamline the publication pipeline? Nah, I expect this means something more along the lines of..
I’m not sure either how he got confused between ‘Policy Intern’ and ‘Dr’, as I certainly haven’t finished or even started a PhD yet. Not sure whether to facedesk at the irony of him getting my title wrong.
Perhaps nothing was achieved through this. But perhaps something was. On the off chance that someone at Springer now thinks, “You know what, we have a responsibility to publish scientifically rigorous articles, so perhaps we should be a little more careful during our review/editorial processes in future”, then great success! For the sake of science, if you spot a mistake like this in future, don’t let it just fester in the system. Do something about it – it takes 5 minutes to write a letter, and the worst that can happen is you won’t get a response. If you can get someone with a bit of clout (like a Professor) to co-sign too, then even better. As John Hutchinson commented though, if you do chose to write a letter, keep it short, sweet, and diplomatic. You’re much more likely to get somewhere that way.