Feeds

MS Word causes academic dust-up

Researchers RTFM, discover back-stabbers

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft Word is causing problems in the catty world of peer reviewing, which ensures research is properly carried out, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Academics are wising up to a relatively inconspicuous feature that allows authors to find out which of their rivals have rubbished their work, raising the possibility of some serious bunfighting at research conferences.

Word automatically gives every document an author tag based on information pulled from the computer when the file is saved. It remains in the document's preferences summary, so when journals return reviewed versions of articles, the details of everyone who amended it remain.

Because careers, funding, and long standing rivalries are at stake, publishers like to keep reviewers' identities anonymous. The promise of anonymity is also key to the reviewer making honest comments.

In the interest of objectivity, the reviewer is often not allowed to know who did the research.

Some publishing professionals have apparently been unaware of the author tag feature. One researcher reports a journal's editor being “horrified” when he alerted her after being contacted by the author of an article he'd reviewed.

Mur K Muchane, executive director of information technology services at Davidson College, said: “I would guess that the vast majority of folks just don't know that that's there.”

The publicising of this feature in the academic community is sure to see washed-up researchers reopening rejected articles to see who put them on the slippery slope to obscurity.

Microsoft says the next version of Office will come with a toolkit called Document Inspector which will help users strip out private data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education piece is here. ®

Bootnote

For an extreme example of when peer review goes bad, revisit the Hwang Woo-Suk saga, which got top journal Science in a whole world of trouble.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
ONE MILLION people already running Windows 10
A third of them are doing it in VMs, but early feedback focuses on frippery
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Do Moan! MONSTER 6-day EMAIL OUTAGE hits Domain Monster
Customers freaked out by frightful service
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.