Sunday, November 20, 2011

A freak of Nature

Today I am going to introduce a new discussion topic I call “right paper wrong journal”.

Scientist are looking for two things in the journal editor: integrity and good judgment. In many occasions, we have a situation when a publication of a particular paper represents editor's less than a good judgment. By judgment here I mean a relevance and a value paper brings to the journal readers. Paper can be well designed and properly done but it may not make a significant contribution for the knowledge advancement. 

Here is the example of such paper that was recently published in Nature (Nature is widely regarded a the world's most prestigious science journal). In this paper by Christine Moussion and Jean-Philippe Girard (1), the authors showed that in vivo a proper maintenance of lymph node (LN)-specific endothelial cells, called high endothelial venules (HEV), requires their interaction with dendritic cells through lymphotoxin-β receptor. As a functional outcome, the authors showed that in the absence of dendritic cells LNs had reduced cellularity due to a reduced capacity of lymphocytes to adhere to the HEV and enter the LN. However, no data is provided how this changes would have affected any meaningful immunological response. Any way, absence of dendritic cells by itself (independent of HEV functionality) will make an initiation of antigen-specific immune response almost impossible. Is there any reason why this paper could have not be published in Journal of Immunology?


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