• Question: do you depend on what other people say about your project

    Asked by Allison:) to Stephanie, Melissa, Jonathan on 27 Apr 2016.
    • Photo: Stephanie Moon

      Stephanie Moon answered on 27 Apr 2016:

      Hmm… in some ways yes. Because to get money to do research you usually have to convince a group of scientists or a company or foundation that your research is worth doing. Then when you have the money, you have to make a good argument for why the research should be published- this is the process of peer review (your scientific peers will evaluate your work to see if it makes sense and is important). being able to talk about your work is really important, but it’s also important to have good reasons (evidence and data) for why you do what you do…

    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 27 Apr 2016:

      Stephanie answered this question really well, Allison!

      All of science is based on a concept called “peer review.” Have you ever swapped papers in class and graded each other? It’s kinda like that. Scientists depend on other scientists to help us think about our research. We use the concept of peer review for getting research money, but also when we tell other people about our research when we write articles or present at science conferences.

      Our fellow scientists will always have questions about our work, and we will always have questions about their work, too! It’s a pretty good process, and helps every scientist get as close to the truth as possible.

    • Photo: Melissa Wilson Sayres

      Melissa Wilson Sayres answered on 28 Apr 2016:

      I agree with what Stephanie and Jonathan wrote. I would add that we have to learn how to not take peer reviews personally. In a perfect world, the peer reviews we receive are only about our science. But, as a scientist, I am invested in the research I do, and having put so much time and energy into the research, I can sometimes feel very down on myself when I get a negative peer review. So, I need to remind myself that my peers are only reviewing the paper that I’ve given them, and don’t have any additional information, and shouldn’t care about who did the research.