Thursday, April 23, 2015

Research and editorial dissonance in action: beware of 1 year long review process

Here is an example of the paper that should not be published in journal such as Immunity. Its title and abstract sounded interesting. I was always curious how dendritic cells (DCs) could mediate both immunity and tolerance, especially that in both situations DCs should undergo some type of maturation to efficiently interact with T or B cells.

In this article, the authors described mouse model with CD11c-specific inactivation of NF-Kb pathway (IkbkbΔitgax). Afterwards, the authors proceeded to analyze cellular and morphological features of this model. Only relevant figures are Fig. 1 and Fig. 7, however even these figures do not support the authors conclusion. To claim that DC-selective deficiency of NF-Kb pathway leads to autoimmune condition, showing spleen and lymph node enlargement or showing antigen specific CD8 T cells expansion and lack of iTreg conversion are insufficient. In fact, the most important finding that antigen-specific CD8 T cells in this model induce skin inflammation are mentioned as data not shown.

I have no idea why editors had allowed publication of this paper. It appears that there was some doubts initially in editors' mind because it took almost full 1 year before the article was accepted for publication. Usually, such a long review process is a strong indication of major weakness in research article. I guess eventually the editors caved in and allowed its publication. Editorial board of journal Immunity needs people with a little bit more integrity and scientific instincts.

David Usharauli

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