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Would it be possible for you to add the peer reviews you may have received from attempts to publish this paper in peer revewed journals?

It would be helpful for me to assess the scientific rationale for rejection of previous versions if indeed there was any, or were any.

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Accepted answer

Thanks Jay.

Actually, I think it would be more useful for you to evaluate the current version as if you'd been asked to review it for a peer-review journal.

Let other readers see your honest opinion. Strengths? Weaknesses? Suggestions for improvement?

best regards,

Susan

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Thanks for the response. I'll take that as a 'no' to my question.

With respect to the paper - broadly I think you are correct. But if I reviewed the paper I would suggest moderating the language slightly, particularly: "...suggest that these researchers vastly over-estimated the importance of summer feeding for polar bears but also neglected to consider...and may embody the logical fallacies of ‘hasty generalization’ and ‘correlation implies causation’ etc..." There is no need to make any suggestions about other researcher's competence etc., it weakens your objective stance and may prejudice reviewers against your paper. Those other researchers may have considered many of the aspects you mention and followed the precautionary principle with the contempory information on the basis that the labelling of species as endangered has many potentially positive advantages and few or no negative.

Anyhow, I think your paper should have been accepted after peer review, as you have a right to have your theories published in the scientific conversation as they are presently unfalsified. If I may quote myself after a paper of mine was rejected on 'readership interest' or 'plausibility' terms: "There may be an almost unlimited number of ways in which my hypothesis can be falsified, but your opinion isn't one of them"

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Thanks Jay, I appreciate the feedback.

I understand what you are trying to say about "suggestions about other researcher's competence" passage and see why some people might agree with you.

But on the other hand, if I'd left out that passage, many other readers would be left saying "but why, then, were the models outcomes so far wrong." Surely those readers deserve to have it explained to them how such science ventures can go wrong?

My pointing out that mistakes were made was not intended as a personal attack on the researchers involved but a description of the science failure that occurred.

These survival models were widely promoted, high-stakes ventures - since they apparently failed quite spectacularly, readers should be able to ask why - and other scientists should be able to explain why without being accused of launching a personal attack.

How do scientists avoid doing the same thing if no one points out the pitfalls? In this case, because a Bayesian model was used, the outcome depended almost entirely on the opinion of the researcher involved (who got to say, "in my opinion, if such and such happens, polar bears will do this"). That approach automatically increases personal responsibility for the outcome of the model and any researcher using such a model should be aware of that fact.

If you or anyone else would like to try their hand at re-wording that passage, I'd appreciate it. I agree that one should not alienate readers unnecessarily so if I could have said the same thing with less sting, I would consider changing it.

Susan

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Yes thanks Susan, those comments in the paper are peripheral to the main point in any case, they are more a matter of style. Too many reviewers spend too much time on that type of thing in my opinion.

Anyhow, if they were Bayesian belief models - they weren't science anyhow, just opinion. It would probably be more useful to explain that.

Best of luck with it. Thanks for publishing it.

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